Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said that there was no need for interference of the Calcutta High Court in the drinking water crisis now in Kanu Sanyal's village, under Naxalbari block since Siliguri Municipal Corporation will supply drinking water for villagers.
The yearly anti-dengue programmes of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) have taken a backseat this year, thanks to Covid-19 that has taken over the world and has engaged almost everyone in the fight against the pandemic.
The dengue plans include house-to-house surveys by health workers, monitoring of the wards by vector control teams (VCT), and awareness programmes in the SMC areas.
The surveys are conducted to ascertain whether the residents are suffering from dengue symptoms.
The health department and the civic body are now also concerned about the heavy pre-monsoon rainfall, which could lead to the emergence of mosquito-breeding sites.
Siliguri has recorded 240.8 mm of rainfall until 22 May this year, an average of 14.2 mm every day.
Sources at the Indian Meteorological Department said that the rainfall this month was higher in the region as compared to last year.
According to civic body officials, the routine prevention plans could not take off properly owing to the situation, while public health experts associated with vector control programmes warned there could be a dengue outbreak if proper steps are not taken as Siliguri, a dengue endemic zone, has registered several dengue cases, including deaths every year.
“Maintaining strict protocol of dengue prevention, regular spraying of disinfectants, cleaning of open water sources, spreading communication about dengue are very important to contain the disease, otherwise there could be a spurt in the cases. It appears that the civic body is ill-prepared to take on dengue as it prioritises the novel coronavirus this year,” a health expert said.
There are 134 VCTs and each team has three members in five boroughs under the SMC.
They are meant to monitor mosquito-borne diseases in the wards and spraying.
“The civic body has taken up the task to combat Covid19 by spending almost all its resources, but dealing with dengue is also very important. It has been disinfecting several places almost daily, following the coronavirus pandemic and detection of some Covid-19 cases in the town. Conservancy workers are engaged in santisation, and to fill the gaps of conservancy work, we are compelled to use VCTs. Naturally, the normal work on vector controls have been affected to a large extent,” said an official.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had in early April alerted all concerned to keep a close watch and had asked necessary steps be taken to prevent dengue.
Chairperson of the board of administrators (BoA) of the civic body, Asok Bhattacharya, however, said they had prepared action plans to combat dengue, along with Covid-19.
A member of the BoA, health department, Sankar Ghosh, said they were requesting the state government to issue guidelines. On the other hand, the civic body health department had asked its field workers to ensure all mosquito breeding grounds were destroyed.
“We have asked conservancy workers to visit potential breeding sites, identify stagnant water and ensure no water accumulates. Puddles may trigger the possibility of dengue virus-carrying Aedes aegypti larva breeding grounds. We are monitoring the situation,” said an official.