Help is on way but residents would have to contend with the mosquito menace this monsoon.
The urban development and housing department has planned to purchase 72 vehicle-mounted fogging machines, one for each ward of the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) by November this year.
The Telegraph, in its earlier editions had reported the tussle between the civic body that claims of using the machines regularly and the residents who beg to differ.
Urban development and housing department minister Samrat Choudhary said the buying process, to be conducted through tenders, would be completed within three months and it will be handed over to the PMC for regular use. The minister added that the machines would not be kept idle and used regularly in all the areas of the city, particularly during summer and monsoon.
“The department has decided to buy 72 vehicle-mounted fogging machines. They would be bought via tendering process and the department aims to complete the deal within three months. The department aims to start frequent fogging in the city from November onwards. The city would be free of the mosquito menace,” Choudhary said.
Sources in the department said each of these machines would cost anything between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 20 lakh.
At present, PMC has 59 mini-fogging machines and two vehicle-mounted ones. “They were bought by the corporation last September and they are in a functional state. The smaller ones can be used easily by anyone and can be carried around to different locations. They can also be mounted on bicycles. The total cost of the 59 mini-fogging machines rests at around Rs 20 lakh. There are two vehicle-mounted fogging machines. The cost of each is between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 20 lakh. The machines are used in different wards of PMC from time to time. There is a roster and we work accordingly. The aim is to visit and re-visit each wards at intervals of three days,” a civic official said.
The mosquito menace in the city is common with doctors citing serious health risks. “In the rainy season, the chances of suffering from vector-borne and water-borne diseases increase. While the former can be defined as diseases caused owing to mosquito bites, including malaria, kala-azar, cholera and dengue, the latter are caused because of contaminated drinking water. It includes gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, vomiting, jaundice and others,” said Dr V.P. Sinha, a physician at Patna Medical College and Hospital.
Sinha added that using mosquito nets was the best form of prevention. “One should use a mosquito net at night. Another option is to stay away from places where there is mosquito menace. Regular cleaning and carting of garbage also helps as litter and standing water leads to mosquito breeding. Be sure to drink clean water. Fogging needs to be done frequently and the whole area needs to be covered. Unless this is done, fogging is of little use. Authorities in charge of fogging should make sure all areas are touched. It can make a huge difference,” the doctor said.
The residents, however, were not happy with the PMC’s way of functioning. N.K. Mishra, who lives in the Ram Nagri area under ward number 2, said he had not seen any fogging in his area. “If the PMC officials say they conduct fogging regularly, they are lying. I have been living here for the past one year and not even once have I seen any fogging activity,” Mishra said.
Satyendra Kumar of the Kasturba Path area echoed a similar sentiment. “The last time I saw fogging in my locality was in August last year. After that, I haven’t seen it happening. The new machines, which the department is talking about, would arrive in winter when the mosquito menace is less. However, one has to ensure that the agencies work properly,” Satyendra said.