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Since 1st March, 1999
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It’s swish versus sting
- Mosquito menace, civic apathy push killer racquet sale

Jamshedpur, March 2: Spring is literally buzzing in the air, thanks to mosquitoes.

And with East Singhbhum district authorities playing blame-game, the only saviour against the sting seems to be a swish.

This year, the famed “season change” has brought with it more unwelcome guests. Mosquito menace is found in even the posh Bistupur, Circuit House and Northern Town localities, while dense buzzing is heard in less tony areas. Residents are living with fear of malaria, cerebral malaria, dengue and filaria.

“Be it at the Bistupur post office or marketplace, mosquitoes are everywhere,” said homemaker Sangeeta Devi.

But civic bodies and district civil surgeon’s office are saying little and doing even less. In fact, authorities chose to blame everything from the weather to bridges to water hyacinths for the mosquito menace.

East Singhbhum district civil surgeon Bibha Sharan admitted there was a sudden spurt in mosquito population but kept mum when asked if she had taken any steps to curb it. “The problem of mosquitoes is due to fluctuating weather,” she said and added she would hold a meeting with the district malaria officer.

District malaria officer L.B.P. Singh had a different theory. “The Kharkai river water stays stagnant near two bridge construction sites, creating a breeding haven, while water hyacinths cause water-logging in Subernarekha,” Singh said, adding that dropping chemicals in the rivers was not feasible as they would harm aquatic and human life.

“The administration must find out alternative ways,” he said.

While the administration is satisfied with theories behind the increase in mosquito population, residents have imported a solution.

Battery-operated racquets of Chinese make that swish in the air and electrocute buzzing mosquitoes with a sharp ‘ping’ are selling like hotcakes.

“No repellent is effective. The racquet is the only way out,” said businessman Manoj Jha.

Bistupur shopkeeper Kamal Hussain said the sale of the killer racquet had zoomed in the past few days.

“I did not imagine this huge demand. I should have stocked more racquets,” he said, as other shopkeepers echoed him.

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