With 12,393 malaria cases, including eight deaths, reported between April and June, Mumbai has the highest number of cases among all Indian cities. The number has nearly doubled from the 6,336 cases reported during the same period last year, state public health minister Suresh Shetty said on Thursday.
A concerned state government has now begun monitoring the municipal corporation's efforts to tackle malaria and has also sought help from the Centre.
The state has requested for a technical team from the Centre to help the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) organise itself to combat the disease. The team is expected to help the BMC draw up its action plan, such as which areas to focus on and how often to undertake anti-larvae treatments.
Shetty told the state Assembly in his reply on a calling attention motion that Mumbai has 47 per cent of the state's malaria cases; it has 12.5 per cent of the state's population.
The incidence in the rest of the state has dropped by 12 per cent over the last one year. The number of malaria cases has gone up by 10 per cent in Thane and 1 per cent in Nashik.
"We have asked for a technical team from the Centre to help the city fight malaria. After co-ordination meetings with BMC, the action plan to tackle malaria has been chalked out and it's in full swing," Shetty said.
The state has instructed the BMC to conduct anti-larvae treatment across 2,500 construction sites in the city and charge it to the developers as they have failed to do it as per the civic body's order. Only two per cent of the developers followed the BMC's instructions.
Shetty said notices were also being sent to Central government authorities, the Railways, airport and the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) to conduct anti-larvae treatments on their properties.
"We have got a great response from MbPT, they have already undertaken fogging," he said.
He refuted the demand by some Opposition legislators to term the outbreak as a "disaster", stating that despite the high incidence, the cases were largely restricted to five wards in the city.
The BMC has undertaken a five-point action plan that will look at making 90,000 water bodies, tanks, pipelines clean and free of mosquitoes. Around 700 workers have been hired to conduct anti-larvae treatment at construction sites and 396 workers for fogging.