The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Insecticide Department that had gone all out to curb the spread of malaria, has already exhausted its annual budget this financial year.
The department had a budget of around Rs 18 crore to control the malaria outbreak by way of purchase of anti-larvicidal, fogging chemicals and other equipment. This did not include the salaries of employees working in the department. However, the money, that was to last the civic body until next April, has all been spent – surprising many in civic circles.
Civic officials say the work done by the department to control malaria was not very different from its usual activities every year. The sudden outbreak of malaria this monsoon saw 30,000 patients and 70 deaths since June. Senior officials from the department explained that most of the money was spent buying fumigants, oils and chemicals.
“While making arrangements to tackle the malaria outbreak, we were instructed to do everything needed to curb it, hence we overshot the budget,” said a department official.
Dr Arun Bamne, chief insecticide officer sought to justify the expenditure. “Till last year, we had been fogging only once a day. This year we are doing it twice a day. We had not been using vehicle mounted machines till last year, but started using seven of them this year. These machines need a large amount of fogging chemical,” Dr Bamne explained.
“The biggest problem with the BMC is that we do not plan in advance, and end up spending more than required,” said Congress corporator Sameer Desai, a member of the Standing Committee that controls the civic body's treasury.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said re-appropriation (for allocating more money for malaria-control) would be done in the revised budget in October.
Civic body says
Budget of Rs 18 crore exhausted in 6 months.
BMC says it has increased fogging to twice a day and pressed seven vehicle-mounted fogging machines into service.