Inaccurate figures will bite BMC

As dengue continues to consume lives at a rapid rate, a 32-year-old tax agent has become the latest victim of the mosquito-borne ailment. Reports state that there has been a significant rise in the number of dengue-related deaths in Mumbai. In the state too, there has been a rise in dengue-related deaths, proving that authorities need to swing into action very quickly.

Though numbers are staring us in the face, the BMC insists that the tax agent was the fourth in Mumbai to succumb to dengue. A slew of NGOs have filed reports stating that figures are higher and the civic body has only taken figures from civic and state run hospitals into account, and not numbers from the many private hospitals and clinics.

An NGO called Help Mumbai Foundation has even filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay HC against the BMC saying that the civic body has not taken appropriate measures to tackle the menace. What constitutes appropriate measures is subjective. But any campaign to tackle a deadly disease has to begin with an acknowledgement of the extent to which it has spread in the city.

The BMC claims it has started anti-fogging and has also identified different dengue hotspots in the city. But you can’t claim to be tackling a problem without acknowledging that there is a problem.

The BMC is bound by duty to come up with accurate figures, not only because the people have a right to know, but because it will itself benefit from such a move.

Hiding figures or obfuscating facts simply to look good, is not a mature solution. It is time the civic body takes a good, hard, realistic look at the situation just so that it has an honest base from which it can launch its battle to control and combat dengue. 

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