A councillor on Wednesday nailed what the Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s biggest problem is: it is incorrigibly slow.
It is taking close to two months, he said, to clear accumulated waste after it is reported, a duration long enough for mosquitoes to breed in the water that gathers in the waste.
Another councillor said the civic body’s vector control inspectors are wary of filing cases against property owners who do not clean the premises despite warnings.
The councillors were speaking at a meeting chaired by mayor Firhad Hakim to discuss the preparedness of the civic body in handling vector-borne diseases. Their complaints revealed that despite claims to the contrary, the CMC is still snail-paced.
Entomologists have said multiple times that destroying mosquito-breeding sites is the most important measure in combating dengue and other vector-borne diseases.
The website of the World Health Organisation (WHO) mentions that “the best preventive measure for areas infested with Aedes mosquito is to eliminate the mosquitoes’ egg laying sites — called source reduction”.
“Lowering the number of eggs, larvae and pupae will reduce the number of emerging adult mosquitoes and the transmission of the disease,” the WHO says.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary transmitter of the dengue virus. It breeds in freshwater that remains undisturbed for at least seven days.
The egg of an Aedes mosquito can turn into an adult mosquito within seven to 10 days if the water where the egg was laid remains undisturbed.
“I had reported about a plot with accumulated garbage about 45 days or two months back, but it has not yet been cleaned. When people report such matters to borough health officers, they send the complaint to another department, which sends it to yet another department. The cleaning happens after a long time,” the councillor said at the meeting.
An 11-year-old girl from Picnic Garden died of dengue at a city hospital on Saturday. A 30-year-old woman from Bangur Avenue passed away on Friday. Bangur Avenue, though, is not part of CMC area.
On Tuesday, an 11-year-old boy from Nadia died of dengue at the NRS Medical College and Hospital.
Deputy mayor Atin Ghosh told officials who were at the meeting that action must be taken immediately after a complaint about accumulation of garbage is lodged.
He also asked officials to file cases against property owners who do not clean their premises despite warnings. “We have issued 4,998 warnings this year and 90 cases have been filed in court. Five persons have been fined,” he said.
The fine amount can be up to Rs 1 lakh, said sources.
Hakim told officials that they must realise that multiple departments need to work together to combat vector-borne diseases. “Please do not say this is not my department’s responsibility. Take a little more initiative,” he said.