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Delhi faces health crisis as mosquito breeding checkers go on indefinite strike

Delhi face a health crisis in the coming days as around 3,500 Domestic Breeding Checkers (DBC) with the three corporations of Delhi— south, east and north — have gone on an indefinite strike from Tuesday.

delhi Updated: Aug 30, 2017 11:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi dengue,Delhi chikungunya,Delhi malaria
Domestic breeding checkers or DBCs visit houses and check breeding of mosquitoes. (HT file photo)

The health crisis in Delhi may worsen in coming days as around 3,500 Domestic Breeding Checkers (DBC) with the three corporations of Delhi— south, east and north — have gone on an indefinite strike from Tuesday.

Hundreds of workers gathered at the civic body’s headquarter Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Civic Centre to demand better salary, regularisation of job, leaves and health insurance. The DBC workers get around Rs14,000 per month.

President of Anti Malaria Union of Workers Budhram said, “We gathered today (on Tuesday) expecting that the authorities will listen to us and accept our demands. We met a senior health officer who gave us assurance that our demands would be looked into. But we have been listening to such assurances for a decade now. We will only relent when we are given something in written or some action is taken.”

He said that some of the workers will also go on a hunger strike from Wednesday.

“We have been given assurances since past 10 years but no one cares,” he said.

DBC workers entering into strike during this time of the year may trigger a health crisis as vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya had seen a sharp rise in September last year.

This year too dengue is on the rise in the city following monsoon showers. Around 300 cases of the vector-borne disease were reported by city hospitals in the week ending on August 28, taking the total number of cases to 945.

This is higher than the 644 cases recorded during the same period last year. In 2015, Delhi had its worst ever dengue crisis that affected nearly 16,000 and killed 60. By this time of the year, 831 cases were reported in 2015.

Another DBC worker and member of the union, Madan Pal, said, “There have been several cases where DBC workers have been injured while climbing the terrace, while checking breeding in water tanks or coolers. We want that the wife of a DBC worker to be given employment in such cases,” he said.

There are around 3,500 DBC workers in the three corporations of Delhi whose job is to check breeding in the houses.

A senior official of North Corporation said, “DBC’s were recruited in 1996 as there was major dengue outbreak. They were hired for nine months but their employment was later extended. With times, we have even increased their salary as per the Minimum Wage Act.”

“Secondly, it is legally not possible for us to regularise the jobs as this is a seasonal work for nine months. Also, the jobs in corporations are regularised by Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB). In this case, even DSSSB cannot regularise it, and only court has the power to do it because no such posts exists,” he added.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 23:37 IST