Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday asked mayor Firhad Hakim to immediately clean the area around Prinsep Ghat, wondering aloud why there was no monitoring and why she had to flag these issues every time.
Mamata, who sounded generally unimpressed with the cleaning of the streets, also pointed out that the roads leading to Nabanna from Howrah, which used to be washed earlier, were not cleaned with the same effort any longer.
The chief minister was speaking at a review meeting of the state health department. The biggest public health crisis in the state this year has been an outbreak of dengue infections.
The Telegraph has been writing about how accumulated waste lying in a place for days on end turn into mosquito-breeding grounds. Such accumulated waste has been noticed across the city.
“Why there will not be regular maintenance? Why do I have to point this out? Officers may change, but the government’s policy does not change,” the chief minister said.
“The condition of the Prinsep Ghat area has worsened. Please clean the place immediately,” Mamata told Hakim at the meeting in Nabanna, a tone of dissatisfaction clear in her voice.
“Why did we make Prinsep Ghat to Millenium Park? People in Kolkata do not have many other places to visit.”
She wondered whether the people responsible for the maintenance were kids that they needed to be reminded of their job constantly. The meeting was streamed live on her Facebook page.
“Things start rolling again after I intervene. Why will I have to say this every time? Whose duty is this?” Mamata said.
Across the city, heaps of accumulated waste can be seen. Entomologists say any volume of waste can turn into mosquito-breeding sites after rain. The waste almost always has small containers such as tea cups where water can accumulate.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the dengue virus, can breed in spoonful of water. The mosquito needs fresh water that remains stagnant in a container for at least seven days.
A number of people in Kolkata and elsewhere have been infected with the dengue virus this year. Many have died of the disease. The state health department has not released any death figure.
Mamata on Monday tasked the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) with arranging a place along the Hooghly where Ganga aarati can be done regularly. She said the KMC should take time, maybe two years, to set up the place, which must have a temple and a place where people can sit and enjoy the aarati.