Cabinet targets Sena, BJP for malaria
Politics over the malaria outbreak in Mumbai took the centrestage at the state Cabinet’s weekly meeting on Wednesday.Updated: Aug 05, 2010, 00:41 IST
Politics over the malaria outbreak in Mumbai took the centrestage at the state Cabinet’s weekly meeting on Wednesday.
The ministers accused the bosses of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)-— the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party — of inefficiency in taming the threat to public health. They took senior BMC officials, who were summoned to the meeting, to task and asked them to perform beyond their routine duties.
The city’s municipal, government and private hospitals are teeming with malaria patients. Other cities such as Thane, Pune and Nagpur have also reported an alarming number of patients over the past fortnight. The Sena-BJP combine is under attack from all parties. The Congress-led state government beat the saffron combine in efforts to control the illness. Health officials from across the state have been summoned to monitor the measures.
Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar, deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil led the attack. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan also participated. Public Heath Minister Suresh Shetty assured the Cabinet that his department would work on a war footing to compensate for the BMC’s inability to handle the crisis.
Chavan directed BMC commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya to reign in developers whose construction sites have provided breeding grounds for mosquitoes. “Make it compulsory for builders to take preventive measures,” he said.
He also directed that hospitals owned and operated by the Mumbai Port Trust, railways and other central agencies be told to treat malaria patients. “We will inform the Centre today [about this].”
The Cabinet also decided to fill vacant posts of doctors and paramedics in state hospitals.
The condition of Mumbai’s roads was also discussed. Jayant Patil narrated how he drove the three additional municipal commissioners on potholed roads in south Mumbai. Pawar said his daily commute had become a nightmare.
Now, NCP blames Sena
The NCP has held the Sena responsible for the malaria outbreak. A delegation led by city NCP chief Narendra Verma met BMC commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya and threatened to agitate if the BMC did not control malaria and fill potholes. Verma alleged that the Sena-BJP alliance that rules the BMC has no political or administrative will to sort these issues.