Bihar State Health Society has assured Patna Municipal Corporation of providing 10 fogging machines. However, residents of the capital would still need to stick to mosquito repellents because the machine-procurement process is yet to start.
After a meeting with the officers of the health department on Tuesday, additional municipal commissioner Chandrma Singh said: “We had made a demand for 10 fogging machines to the health department. We were told that tenders have been floated. The procurement process would start with the selection of the firm, which would supply the machines. It would take a couple more days for the fogging machines to arrive.”
According to sources, there is one fogging machine each in the four circles of the corporation — Bankipore, Patna City, New Capital and Kankerbagh.
“We have been directed on Tuesday to carry on fumigation at regular intervals across the city. However, since we have four fogging machines, only six to seven wards could be fumigated in a day,” said Singh.
A source, however, said one ward should be fumigated for at least three hours every day according to the sanitation norms. The PMC is apparently facing acute shortage of fumigation materials.
Sheshank Shekhar Sinha, the executive officer of the New Capital circle of the PMC, told The Telegraph: “We have not received fumigation materials for the past two years. In 2010, the health department had provided us with six fogging machines, 250 litres of Malathion and one tractor filled with bleaching powder. However, no funds were allotted for the purpose to the civic body in 2011. Funds have not been released this year as well.”
However, the PMC sources informed that the fogging machines purchased in 2010 hardly made any difference because all machines developed snags within a few months.
According to sources, running the machine for three hours every day consumes about 130lt of diesel and 1kg Malathion — an insecticide with low human toxicity which is effective against mosquitoes.
The fumigation costs about Rs 4,000 per day per ward. As operation cost of machines in all circles reaches up to Rs 5 lakh each month, the fumigation is not extensive throughout the year.
Additional municipal commissioner Singh said: “The state health society has been requested on Tuesday to provide sufficient quantity of Malathion and bleaching powder to the civic body.”
Residents, on the other hand, seemed sceptical regarding the civic body’s fumigation process.
“I have never seen fogging machines in my neighbourhood. Now, that the dengue menace is spreading in the city, the civic body must take the necessary steps immediately. The PMC has always failed to provide quality civic services to the citizens,” said Ajay Kumar, a resident of Ashiana Nagar.