In the last phase of winter, mosquitoes are back from hibernation and the civic body’s inefficiency to tackle their breeding is adding to the sting.
The capital has been witnessing a surge in mosquito population lately. The residents are, however, left abandoned by the authorities, as Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has only one fogging machine for 72 wards.
During the last dengue outbreak in October 2012, the health department had directed Bihar State Health Society (BSHS) to provide 10 fumigation machines to the PMC. However, the BSHS has denied any such arrangement.
Dr D.K. Raman, the additional director of reproductive and child health-cum-procurement officer at the BSHS told The Telegraph: “Though we have ordered for procurement of 10 fogging machines, we have no agreement with the PMC to supply them fogging machines. The state or district malaria programme officer, depending on their requirement, can purchase the machines. We would send them the rate card and they can buy from us accordingly. If the PMC wants, it can purchase it from the respective programme officer. But we are not going to give it for free.”
Officials of the civic body, on the other hand, are still waiting for the machines.
“We have not heard anything from the health department over the past three months after we were assured that the department would give us 10 fogging machines. Though the corporation has four fogging machines, only one is functional at present. The civic body is not financially capable of buying new machines or even repair the existing ones. A new one would cost around Rs 30 lakh and repairs would incur Rs 2.5-3 lakh,” said a senior PMC officer.
The PMC has also sought assistance from the district administration regarding the problem. “We have recently written letters to the district magistrate and district malaria officer to provide us with kerosene oil because the mosquito population seems to be on the rise,” said the PMC officer.
On the other hand, residents are fuming over the lack of fumigation in their vicinity.
“I have never seen fumigation in my neighbourhood. The condition seems to have become worse lately with the rise in the number of mosquitoes over the past couple of days. It is not possible to sit and watch television because of mosquito bites,” said Anushman, a resident of Ashiana Nagar.