Airport staff, passengers and taxi drivers at the new international terminal are troubled by a swarm of mosquitoes, originating from an uncovered nullah outside the airport and making their way inside
A month after the new Terminal 2 (T2) was officially inaugurated, a ‘minor’ mosquito problem faced by airport officials has become an increasing cause of trouble for the staff working in shifts round the clock, as well as for the passengers.
Itch generator: The Mithi river nullah near T2 is a breeding ground for the mosquitoes
Mosquitoes at the airport have been troubling staffers to the point that some of them now carry electric bats to tackle the parasites. Speaking to mid-day, an airport official said, “Initially, the mosquitoes made it difficult for anyone to enter the medical inspection room. When we brought this to airport operator GVK’s notice, they arranged a team to spray insect repellent in the room, so that the medical team can at least sit there. However, the problem still persists in the arrival and departure level of the terminal.”
An officer from the ground staff remarked, “T2 has killer mosquitoes. The problem has become even more unbearable in the last one week. Some staff members carry electric rackets, fearing for their health. Officials have started fumigating the outdoors and the entrance and access areas, but the situation inside hasn’t improved much.”
Not only airport staff, but taxi drivers are also frustrated with the mosquitoes coming from the uncovered nullah in front of the terminal building. AL Quadros, general secretary of Mumbai Taximen’s Union, said, “The mosquitoes have become a cause of concern now. I will take up the issue with GVK to get the nullah covered right away. Otherwise, it won’t be long before people start falling sick.”
A watchman at Level 2 of the airport commented, “GVK has arranged for fumigation, but it has not been very effective. We are applying mosquito-repellent creams to protect ourselves.”
Other problems related to availability of trolleys, functioning washrooms and getting a taxi seem to have been sorted out. There are three prepaid taxis for passengers. Dustbins have been placed at Level 2. An official from the trolley department said that another 1,000 trolleys have been added to the existing 2,700. But the small font size and wrong information on signboards at Level 2 are still confusing passengers.
The new terminal is much better than the old one, but far more confusing. I’ve been waiting for my friend since 20 minutes and the mosquitoes here have not made the wait any easy.
— Niki Singh, passenger from Dhaka to Mumbai
The new terminal is beautiful, but the mosquitoes don’t allow us to wait in the terminal for long.
— Sidharth Giri, passenger from Muscat to Mumbai
There were only three shops open, a tea
stall, a South Indian food stall and a
Gujarati food stall during my morning flight.
I had to pay R250 for a cup of coffee,
which I think is too much. This wasn’t the case in the old terminal. We need more
food stalls for passengers. In addition, once the immigration is complete, one has to
wait for an hour and a half for their
baggage. I feel the authorities should work on that.
— Neha Katdare, an engineering student travelling from Mumbai to Qatar
We have invited agencies to conduct surveys on the excessive number of mosquitoes. They’ve concluded that there is no breeding ground for mosquitoes inside the airport; the problem is from outside. Meanwhile, the BMC has been helping us resolve the issue. We have been fumigating entrances in the evening to minimise the number.
— An official from Mumbai International Airport Limited