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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Rural board delay led to dengue spread: Mamata Banerjee

The Bengal CM also said the administration across the state was working on forming boards of rural bodies as soon as possible

Snehamoy Chakraborty, Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Calcutta Published 01.08.23, 07:28 AM
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee File image

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said the number of dengue cases in rural Bengal witnessed a sharp rise this year as most gram panchayats were unable to control the vector-borne disease because boards were yet to be formed after the July 8 rural polls.

"There are problems (to control dengue cases) as the board of panchayats were not formed. Gram panchayats could not work properly to control the situation in the absence of a board," Mamata said in the Assembly as the BJP brought an adjournment motion on the issue on Monday.

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Mamata also said the administration across the state was working on forming boards of rural bodies as soon as possible.

At a recent meeting, chief secretary H.K. Dwivedi directed district magistrates to ensure the formation of boards of all three-tier rural bodies by August 16. The district administration in most of the districts fixed dates for the formation of boards between August 8 and August 16 in various phases.

Mamata made the comment at a time when a section of health department officials blamed inaction on the part of rural bodies inaction on cleanliness drive and other measures to prevent the dengue outbreak as most of its functionaries were busy with political activities since the rural polls were announced.

"She rightly pointed out the ground reality behind the rise of dengue cases in rural pockets. It is a fact the functionaries of outgoing boards of gram panchayat are no longer interested to monitor dengue-related activities. Most of the chiefs of rural bodies are reluctant even after several reminders from the block development officers or district administration," said a senior health official in Calcutta.

Mamata claimed in the Assembly that this year eight persons had died because of dengue and 897 patients admitted to hospitals across the state. She also said altogether 4,401 dengue cases had been reported in the state till July 26 and said the number of cases were highest in Nadia and North 24-Parganas. Calcutta and Hooghly are two other districts where the number of cases was also comparatively higher.

"I will request the MLAs to help in monitoring the situation in their respective areas by ensuring no breeding pocket for mosquitoes," Mamata said in the Assembly to answer a question raised by Trinamul MLA Apurba Sarkar.

A senior health official said till Sunday of the total number of dengue cases, 76 per cent were from rural areas.

Mamata also said the dengue cases were high in Bidhannagar because of construction related to Metro railway.

BJP MLAs, who had moved an adjournment motion, walked out of the House after Speaker Biman Banerjee said that the chief minister had already spoken on the issue.

The BJP MLAs later agitated with mosquito nets and replicas of mosquitoes outside the House, accusing the state of failing to control the outbreak and suppressing the number of cases and deaths.

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