THE Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has moved court against users of 637 premises for allegedly not preventing mosquito breeding on their premises despite issuing notices. The move is part of the civic body’s campaign to tackle the mosquito menace to curb the spread of vector-borne diseases, including dengue and malaria.
The BMC has collected Rs 22 lakh in fines from 11,237 households and commercial structures that were found to have not prevented mosquito breeding on the premises. Between January and August, the civic body conducted public awareness drives in slums, chawls, societies, high-rises, malls and other residential and commercial structures on preventing mosquito breeding. The civic body’s insecticide department conducts regular surveys to identify breeding sites or areas where stagnant water has accumulated. Usually, warning notices are issued to residents and owners to ensure that their premises are free of mosquito breeding.
During the eight-month period, survey officials from the insecticide department found 21,883 breeding sites. The officials then guided owners and occupants of the structures (commercial and residential) regarding how to tackle such breeding. Each breeding spot can have 150-200 eggs raising concerns over spread of mosquitoes across the city.
Of the 21,883 sites, those using 11,237 premises were found to have ignored the warning. The department levied penalties amounting to Rs 22 lakh on these property owners. Of them, a case has been filed against 637 after they were found to have neglected the BMC’s warning notices. The civic body can act against individuals and buildings found negligent on the matter under Section 381 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act and impose a fine, ranging between Rs 2,000 and Rs 10,000. According to Dr Rajendra Naringekar, the head of BMC’s insecticide department, despite the awareness campaign and BMC’s efforts, people still ignore warnings.
“The campaign to control or curb mosquito breeding is going on for the past five years. However, even today during our surveys, we find mosquitoes breeding in flower pots, box grills on windows, water storage drums and other places. Mosquito breeding is also found in air conditioner units and defrost trays of refrigerators,” he said.
According to data from the BMC’s health department, 102 dengue and 271 malaria cases have been detected in just 11 days after Mumbai witnessed heavy rains on August 29. In 2016, the BMC issued notices to 4,986 government institutions, residential premises and private owners for allowing mosquito breeding on their premises. Data collected from the BMC insecticide department shows that after the notices were issued, fines amounting to Rs 7.81 lakh were collected between January and April, after prosecution of negligent institutions or private owners in court.
In 2015, the department had issued 19,710 notices and collected fines amounting to Rs 32.77 lakh.