Mayor Firhad Hakim has written to Kolkata police commissioner Vineet Goyal about condemned vehicles kept outside police stations that “have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes”.
In the letter sent on Friday, Hakim requested Goyal “to direct all the police stations to remove the condemned cars in a bid to control mosquito breeding”.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector that transmits dengue, can breed in water that remains stagnant in even a spoon, said entomologists. Small containers, depressions in a metal object where water can accumulate can turn into sites of mosquito breeding.
“It is often reported that condemned vehicles stacked at various Police Stations and the Kolkata Police stack yard of condemned vehicles near Basanti Highway have become breeding ground of mosquitoes,” the letter said.
“They may also be requested to check the roof of the police stations as well as surrounding places for any stagnant water.”
Goyal responded to a WhatsApp message sent by The Telegraph on Saturday and said: “We have issued detailed instructions to all PS (police station)/TG (traffic guard) and other units for dengue control measures from time to time. The KMC (Kolkata Municipal Corporation) is supporting us with vector control measures such as spraying on the premises on regular basis. We are closely monitoring the implementation of measures from our end. After receipt of the letter, we have once again circulated the instructions and will coordinate with KMC.”
Following a directive from the top cop, all police stations were instructed on Saturday afternoon to remove seized vehicles from the compound of police stations at the earliest.
“Vehicles seized in connection with the investigation of cases should be sent for Zimmanama or be sent to concerned dumping grounds by observing necessary formalities. The same should be done on a priority basis,” the police stations were instructed.
Zimmanama is a bond against which a seized article can be taken back by its owner against a clause that it would be produced before the court in the same condition as and when requisitioned during the investigation or trial.
Deputy commissioners of the police divisions were asked to monitor and ensure that there is no piling up of seized vehicles in the future.
What Hakim called condemned vehicles were cars, two-wheelers, buses and slow-moving vehicles that were seized by the police either after an accident or because of some violation of the law.
Many times, the police fail to establish the ownership of the vehicle as the person who was in possession of the vehicle was not its owner mentioned in government records, said a police officer. Sometimes the damage to the vehicle is so enormous that the owner does not want to take it back as repairs will cost a huge amount of money.
The police do not have to dismantle the vehicle without the permission of courts, which is a lengthy process, said the officer.
A Kolkatan an questioned the timing of the letter. He said the letter was sent at a time when winter was approaching and the breeding of mosquitoes would decline because of receding temperature and humidity.
The KMC should have ideally sent the letter at the onset of monsoon to prevent a spurt in the mosquito population, said the Calcuttan.