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Nothing has changed, Jamia Nagar gripped in fear of dengue, chikungunya this year too

In 2016, though the official figure (according to MCD records) for dengue and chikungunya deaths in Jamia Nagar is less than 10, there were over 70 suspected deaths in this part of south-east Delhi.

delhi Updated: Jul 02, 2017 11:20 IST
Joydeep Thakur
Joydeep Thakur
Hindustan Times
Mosquito,mosquito breeding,Jamia Nagar
Workers of SDMC’s malaria department use a mobile tablet to note down information at Kishangarh village near Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. (Vipin Kumar/HT File Photo)

Standing at the entrance of her house in a damp and dingy lane at Nai Basti in Jamia Nagar, where chikungunya and dengue had taken a heavy toll in 2016, Nur Jahan frequently waved her hand to ward off the flies that tried to sit on her face.

“I have already lost one of my daughters last year. I had four daughters and two sons and they were all diagnosed either with dengue or chikungunya. All survived, barring one. I don’t want to lose any of them this year,” said Nur Jahan, as she tightly held on to her five-year-old son Zeeshan.

In 2016, though the official figures (according to MCD records) for dengue and chikungunya deaths in Jamia Nagar is less than 10, there were over 70 suspected deaths in this part of south-east Delhi.

Locals of Jamia Nagar, Zakir Nagar, Gaffar Manzil and Shaheen Bagh in south Delhi present a rather gloomy picture, where nothing much has changed over the past one year.

Another resident, Shahnawaz Begum, said, “I lost my husband last year. He was detected with dengue. Almost every house had a patient diagnosed either with dengue, malaria or chikungunya in 2016. We don’t know what would happen this year.”

The fears of local residents were not totally unfounded. Residents of Nai Basti alleged that sanitation workers do not come to the area regularly. And even if they come, they refuse to sweep the drains or collect garbage inside the dingy and narrow lanes.

“We pay them extra money. But even after taking the money, they sometimes go on leave for several days. They even refuse to enter the narrow lanes,” said Imtiyaz, a local resident.

However, a senior official of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation said, “Instead of yielding to the demands of the sanitation workers, the residents should approach local authorities and can lodge a complaint on the helpline. We have not received any such complaints recently.”

The garbage piles up sometimes for more than a week. The rain water accumulates in plastic cups, coconut shells and polythene that are dumped on the streets.

“Mosquitoes and flies have made our lives hell. You won’t be able to sleep during the night without getting bitten,” said Imtiyaz.

Delhi faced its biggest ever chikungunya outbreak in 2016 with 7,760 cases being reported. This year, the menace has surfaced early and there has been an unprecedented rise. Around 146 cases of chikungunya have been reported so far in Delhi hospitals, out of which 105 are residents of Delhi, the rest arrived in the city for treatment. At least 50 dengue and 59 malaria cases have also been reported.

Officials of the South Corporation claimed that unauthorised buildings are one of the biggest breeding grounds.

“People often build basements, where water accumulates. The terraces of the buildings often become dumping yards and water accumulates in them. The civic workers are, however, not allowed to enter,” said a senior official.

The scenario was equally grim in Shaheen Bagh, which emerged as another hotspot for the three vector-bourne diseases last year.

“We have not seen any awareness campaigns. no domestic breeding workers have visited the spot in the past one month at least, and there has been no fumigation or spraying. The civic authorities would only come once the death toll starts rising,” said Mohammed Umar Khan, a resident of F Block in Shaheen Bagh.

The visibly peeved locals claimed that politicians had been frequenting the locality before the recently held civic polls.

“Now, when we need their service, they can’t be seen anymore. Repeated appeals to the local civic body fell on deaf ears, as there has been no improvement in these areas. We have not heard of any specific case this year till date, but we anticipate an outbreak this year,” said Imtiyaz.

First Published: Jun 29, 2017 17:30 IST