The Salt Lake civic authorities are depending on door-to-door surveys to counter dengue, but residents say vector-control teams that spray larvicide to kill mosquito larvae are being rarely spotted across the township.
Many residents The Telegraph spoke to on Sunday likened the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) approach to the self-defeating strategy of bringing a knife to a gunfight.
Health workers deployed by the civic body are visiting homes and asking residents if they or any of their family members are down with fever, a prominent symptom of dengue, a disease caused by a virus that is spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
The information is recorded on data sheets, which are submitted in the ward offices of the BMC, a civic official said.
A resident of HB Block said they had not spotted a single vector-control team spraying larvicide in their locality over the past few months.
“There is just no spraying of larvicide by the civic body. We haven’t spotted a single person spraying anything. There are at least seven houses in my row where residents are down with fever,” said Gauranga Bhattacharya.
Residents of several other blocks, too, voiced the same concern.
Tapas Sengupta, a resident of AE Block and the secretary of the AE Block Samaj Kalyan Sangha, said the need of the hour was to prevent breeding of mosquitoes, which could never be achieved unless the BMC overhauled its approach to solid waste disposal and vector control.
“Waste cannot be allowed to accumulate anywhere and larvicide needs to be sprayed on a war footing. It is sad the civic authorities have turned a blind eye to these activities,” said Sengupta.
Dengue cases are being reported in large numbers from nearly every block in Salt Lake, an official in the health department of the civic body said. “On an average, more than 100 cases are being reported from Salt Lake every week,” he said.
At least three wards — 30, 33 and 34 — have been earmarked as dengue-prone zones.
Blocks along canals have turned into dengue hotbeds with cluster infections being reported. Among the affected pockets are AB, AC, AD, AE, AG, AH, AJ and SA Blocks, which are along the Kestopur canal; EE, DL, CL, BL, KC and IC Blocks, which are along the Eastern Drainage Canal; and housing complexes like Jal Vayu Vihar and Mahavir Vikas, the official said.
Banibrata Banerjee, mayoral council member in charge of health, said they were doing everything possible to combat dengue.
“Our teams are spraying larvicide. We are working in tandem with the solid waste department to remove garbage. If residents spot garbage or stagnant water, they should immediately report the location to Poura Bhavan (which houses the office of the BMC)in Salt Lake,” Banerjee said.