The MCD’s fogging plan seems to be working only on paper. The corporation had spent a huge sum on buying fogging machines to tackle the dengue menace but they do not have enough people to handle these machines.
With the dengue national count rising to 743, the municipal councillors at a Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday alleged that the efforts being put in by the civic body were not visible on the ground level.
“We do not have enough people to carry out door-to-door checks. While the disease is at its peak, the corporation is still in the process of recruiting new staff. When will the new recruits be trained and deployed? The dengue outbreak has not come as a surprise. It’s an annual phenomenon and adequate men and material should have been arranged beforehand to deal with the menace,” said Councillor Sanjay Puri.
Councillor Satbeer Sharma said the problem is less fogging. “If you carry out fogging in a colony, there is a positive psychological impact on the people residing in the area that MCD is taking measures in their area to keep the disease under control. At present, there is so much panic in the city that even in case of viral fever, people are queuing up at hospitals for a dengue check-up,” he said.
The councillors complained that they had been requesting the health officers to carry out fogging in their area, but to no avail.
“Forget residents, even we do not know the schedule of the fogging machines deployed for our ward,” said councillor Hemchand Goyal. Leader of MCD House Jitender Kochhar said that the Health Department is using up 2,900 litres of diesel and 1,250 litres of petrol every day for the fogging machines and other vehicles hired for anti-dengue programmes. “In spite of spending so much money, the fogging machines are not visible. The junior staff is not serious. During inspections, we came across instances where health workers were found idling when they should have been checking homes for mosquito breeding,” said Kochhar.
MCD dismisses 12 employees for negligence
The MCD on Friday sacked 12 of its employees involved in fogging operations for negligence of duty. “The services of 12 contractual employees involved in ‘thermal fogging’ operations were terminated due to their negligence in carrying out their duties,” Municipal Health Officer Dr NK Yadav said. The department is not very happy with the thermal fogging technique — which uses heat to produce fog without degrading the active ingredient — as it is effective only against adult mosquitoes. It has little effect on mosquito larvae.
“Pyrethrin (for indoor fogging) and malathion (for outdoor spray) are instant killers,” he said. The corporation is focusing more on destroying larvae. “The anti-larval measures have helped in bringing down the breeding index from 9 per cent to 6 per cent in residential colonies but still there is a lot to be done,” he said. Apart from this, the civic body has decided to allocate Rs 10 lakh to each zone to help contain the disease and ensure better cleanliness.