2 dengue deaths in Bhiwandi, but civic chief chooses silence
Residents and activists say municipal corporation turning blind eye to issue, cannot even maintain basic cleanliness
Despite at least two possible dengue deaths in Bhiwandi's Anjurphata area, residents claim that the Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNCMC) is not prioritising cleanliness or controlling the spread of the disease.
BNCMC sources confirmed that the number of dengue cases jumped from 10 to 30 in October, but refused to speak on the deaths in the area.
Teenu Shetty, who resides in Aadeshwar Society in Narpoli area of Anjurphata, said, "In this week itself, around 15 members from our society started taking treatment for dengue. I haven't seen any help coming from the corporation to control the situation or clean the area."
On October 25, a 28-year-old Vishal Bhandari died of suspected dengue. Later, seven-year-old Yuvam Shah died of suspected dengue on November 2. Medical examinations of both point to dengue being the cause behind the deaths. The BNCMC, however, maintains that there have been no dengue-related deaths in Bhiwandi this year.
The dengue-related deaths are a result of a lack of governance, accountability, and transparency, activists say. Govind Sharma, a local activist, said, "Ineligible people are occupying various posts in the BNCMC thanks to their political contacts. The city lacks basic sanitation, several areas have stagnant water. Fumigation never happens in the city. Civic officials threaten complainants. The latest deaths have happened in upper-middle-class areas where people can afford private hospitals. This shows that a lack of awareness or personal hygiene is not the reason. The Health Department of BNCMC and the municipal corporation must be held responsible."
Sending complaints to the corporation has not worked for the residents either.
"I clicked pictures of water leaking from pipelines and uploaded them on the grievance redressal website. Before that, our society members informed the corporation but no one paid attention. The corporation drags its legs in providing basic services such as garbage collection. We don't even have good hospitals here. The nearest one is Jupiter Hospital all the way in Thane," Shetty added.
Sources in the BNCMC said that the Commissioner, Pravin Ashtikar, is verifying the claims of dengue-related deaths. When mid-day reached out to him on the matter, he did not respond to calls and messages.
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