While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is taking care to snuff out mosquitoes from the immediate environs of Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, citizens have been left to grumble about the ever-multiplying bloodsuckers in their localities, which have not been fumigated despite the rising menace of dengue.

Fumigation work was on outside Matoshree last night, as well as the previous night, when a meeting of Sena MLAs was going on inside. Pics/Atul Kamble
Fumigation work was on outside Matoshree last night, as well as the previous night, when a meeting of Sena MLAs was going on inside. Pics/Atul Kamble

Late on Wednesday night, when the Sena had called a meeting of its MLAs and leaders at Matoshree, the pest control department’s employees were seen fumigating around the Thackeray household.

The spraying was resumed the next day. Even Wankhede stadium’s surroundings were reportedly misted over with disinfectants to ensure a bite-free swearing-in of the chief minister today. The common man, meanwhile, felt the itch of the partiality.

Civic workers fumigate the area around Matoshree, Bandra late on Wednesday while a Sena meeting is underway inside; the work continued on Thursday night
Civic workers fumigate the area around Matoshree, Bandra late on Wednesday while a Sena meeting is underway inside; the work continued on Thursday night

With the sudden outbreak of dengue noticed this month in the city — 6 to 7 patients tested positively for dengue almost every day the BMC has not initiated extra measures to curb the disease, residents complain.

While the corporation said it issued notices to various residential societies against neglecting to check breeding of mosquitoes, citizens believe it has not done anything for them.

Residents of Malvani Gate 5, Malad (West), had complained to the P/North ward office about a particularly noxious sewer and irregular collection of waste leading to proliferation of mosquitoes, but they are still waiting for BMC’s fumigation team.

In the meantime, a resident landed in hospital after contracting dengue. Shahnaz Hussain, said, “The BMC has not been carrying out fumigation drives. The gutters are never cleaned. This time, it was I. But, there are children in my locality. What if they have to suffer through this as well? The authorities should take the issue seriously.”

Neighbourhoods in western and eastern suburbs also saw similar grievances. When the issue was discussed by corporators at the BMC Standing Committee meeting yesterday, the authorities realised that the problem had gripped many areas in Andheri (East) and (West), Ghatkopar, Borivli (West), Dahisar (East) and Kurla among others.

The BMC then sought to lean on short-handedness and dearth of fuel to exempt itself of the blame for not fumigating widely and adequately, and said it would extend the breadth of its decontamination drives in coming days.

When we questioned the insecticide officer Rajan Naringrekar of the pest control department’s working hours, and why the staff was working late on Wednesday night, he said, “Our working hours are from 7 am to 2.00 pm.

But, if there is any complaint or a specific demand from the elected representatives, we usually try and provide them with fumigation.” He added, “But, more than fumigation, it is important that breeding of mosquitoes is brought completely under control, and that can be done only by citizens’ efforts.”

BMC speak
Dr Suhasini Nagda, director of Medical Health at BMC, told this paper, “Recently, routine activities took a backseat because of staff shortage. There were issues with procuring diesel, but we have sorted that and started routine work.

We have asked residential societies to keep their surroundings clean and not store water for a long time. We conduct inspections and issue notices to societies where breeding spots are found. If the breeding persists, we will complain to the police against the societies not obeying BMC’s orders and endangering people’s lives.”

She continued, “We will also carry out a special public awareness drive, as there was a dengue outbreak in the city, just like we did to curtail malaria. We would put up posters on public vehicles so more and more people know about it.”