The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) said it would take stern action against all establishments including state and central government offices if they fail to clear stagnant water, which acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, on their premises.
The decision was taken after a high-level meeting headed by Mayor Firhad Hakim on Tuesday to discuss measures to prevent dengue outbreaks. Sources said civic authorities will first serve notice to the owner of premises in which stagnant water is found, and if they failed to act, it will take stern action.
“With everyone’s support, it can be controlled,” said Hakim. The notice will be sent under Section 496A of the KMC Act, under which a fine is added to the establishment’s property tax. The owner, while paying the property tax, has to pay the fine as well. The amount can vary between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1 lakh.
The preventive measures and the challenges
Though the KMC has been taking a number of steps to tackle dengue outbreaks, including chemical spraying and spreading awareness among residents, the disease continues to be a matter of concern. One of the biggest challenges, officials said, is the congestion in the city, with the number of buildings and other structures increasing. This makes it difficult for the KMC to identify spots where water stagnates. This, as well as the tendency of people to dump waste indiscriminately, make it difficult for the KMC to trace and destroy all potential mosquito breeding sites.
Among those present at the KMC meeting were Deputy Mayor Atin Ghosh, municipal commissioner Khalil Ahmed, special municipal commissioner Tapas Chowdhury and representatives of departments such as health, solid waste management and others. Authorities also sought cooperation from the state irrigation department, public works department, Railways, Metro and others.
The civic authorities have so far identified 20 wards that are prone to vector-borne diseases, using past records. A meeting was also held with the councillors of these wards and the chairpersons of 16 boroughs to alert them so preventive measures such as anti-larvae drives are taken. Among the areas that have seen the most dengue cases are Golf Green, Jodhpur Park and Bijoygarh.