The mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), Firhad Hakim, today conducted a meeting with the state health secretary concerning ways to combat the dengue outbreak in the city.

A meeting is soon to be held with all Central agencies, asking them to cooperate with the state government in combating dengue. The outbreak of dengue in the city has spread far and wide, affecting more than 2000 people in the city, as was confirmed by KMC officials.

As per sources in the state health department, the count of affected people in the state is around 23000. The death toll due to the vector borne disease is on the rise. More than six lives have recently been lost in the city, several of which were minors. The mayor today conducted a meeting with the state health secretary, Sanghamitra Ghosh, to discuss ways to combat dengue.

With forecast of more rainfall, which could pave the way for an increase in mosquito breeding, the civic body intends to go on a war footing in tackling the situation.

Addressing the Press, the mayor said: “We are witnessing an unbalance in weather conditions with sudden bouts of rainfall. Though it is not the time for rain, we are witnessing a monsoon-like weather at present. The rain is leading to further breeding of mosquitoes. We are worried that the situation might turn worse if proper precautions are not taken beforehand. This mosquito menace is not just plaguing us but several countries such as Philippines and Bangladesh. It was observed that most of these mosquitoes are entering the urban area from the semiurban parts of the city, which are the added areas.”

“We have decided to go a war footing in combating the menace. Regular and extensive cleaning will be carried out with increased number of shifts. Cleaning drives will be carried out in hospital premises too. What is more important is, spreading awareness. We need to create awareness so people realise the importance in taking necessary precautions. Every Sunday and Monday, such drives can be conducted by the councillors with eminent personalities in their respective wards. Awareness is the only way we can beat this. Otherwise, it is impossible for KMC to search every nook and corner in the city and of an establishment to trace the breeding grounds of mosquitoes. The ponds also need to be cleaned. We have already taken up cleaning of ponds in every borough of the KMC,” said the mayor.

However, Mr Hakim pointed out that one of the biggest obstacles the KMC teams are facing is, gaining entry into Central lands or establishments for cleaning. “They are not permitting our workers to enter their premises. There are quarters of Central Public Works Department (CPWD) where garbage is piling up, creating conditions suitable for dengue breeding.”