The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sting battle begins at home

Siliguri, Oct. 30: Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) has decided to locate and clean up stagnant water in each and every premises in its 47 wards as part of its battle against mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue.

Stagnant water is the prime breeding ground for the larvae of both Anopheles stephensi (malaria-carrier) and Aedes egypti (dengue-carrier) mosquitoes. With the detection at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital of four dengue cases that had originated in town, there are now confirmed reports of both the diseases having struck Siliguri.

At an emergency meeting where all the 47 ward masters were present, the SMC authorities today discussed the situation and announced strategies (see chart), mostly related to conservancy, to control the vector-borne diseases.

“Our staff in each ward have been asked to go on an intensive drive to clear stagnant water from the basements of buildings under construction and all other places where it is found,” said Nurul Islam, the deputy mayor of the SMC.

SMC sources said bleaching powder and mosquito larvicide oil (MLO) have already been distributed in the wards. “We insisted that the drains should remain clean,” said Ganesh Bhattacharya, the sanitary inspector of SMC. “If the drains are clogged, water will not pass, and all our efforts will be wasted.”

Bhattacharya said so far, they had cleaned the basements of three multi-storied buildings in Khalpara. “We have printed a form for this purpose. The ward masters will visit the houses, especially those under construction, and if they spot stagnant water, they will request the owner to clear it,” he said. “If the owners fail to comply, appropriate action would be taken.”

At the same time, the health workers would explain to the householders the need for their participation in the drive. “Without their cooperation, the task cannot be completed,” Bhattacharya said.

The form, published today, contains specific columns wherein the ward masters must mention the address of the house, name of the owner, presence/absence of stagnant water and the action taken. “It would be easy to get an overview of the situation and the database will also help us,” he added.

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