Is NMC resorting to just a showoff to eliminate Dengue menace that is gripping Nagpur with every passing day? Are the top NMC officials misleading citizens over Dengue awareness drive? Are the daily reports of NMC on preventive actions a farce? Are all the top claims of controlling spread of the menace only on paper? The answer to these questions is certainly a Big Yes.
In the recent days, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation grabbed headlines in Nagpur Today and other media giving a wide publicity to its Dengue Awareness Campaign and efforts to effectively curb the deadly disease from the map of Nagpur City. The headlines roared: “With dengue wreaking havoc, NMC initiates various measures to curb spread of disease,” “NMC undertakes drive to search mosquito larvae to eliminate Dengue,” “Mpl Commissioner directs officials to declare war on Dengue,” “NMC warns strict action against hospitals spreading dengue scare deliberately” etc etc etc. The headlines were based on the press releases of daily reports sent by NMC, meetings presided by Municipal Commissioner Shyam Wardhane, Mayor Pravin Datke and other high-ranking officials. Obviously NMC Administration went overboard and bragged its efforts in curbing spread of Dengue.
The daily reports of NMC mentioned various measures being taken to effectively eliminate the threat the disease is posing to citizens of Nagpur. The measures included dozens of special drives by NMC’s Malaria and Filariasis Control Squad in dozens of localities and inspection of houses in search of Dengue mosquitoes and its larvae, importance of cleanliness. The daily reports quote staggering figures on various counts such as localities visited, houses inspected, Dengue mosquito larvae found and destroyed, action taken against both NMC employees and citizens as well for negligence in preventing spread of the menace and other aspects. All said and done.
However, when Nagpur Today scanned the ground reality, it found the words and actions of top NMC bosses totally opposite. The words of Shyam Wardhane “It is the responsibility of Nagpur Municipal Corporation to protect the citizens from dengue disease” are proving to be hollow. The special drive is nothing but a farce. Nagpur Today found neither the NMC bosses pursuing their directives on preventive measures nor the concerned officials and employees visiting localities and carrying out any house to house inspection to kill mosquito larvae. A talk with Sanjay Kokate, resident of Ayodhya Nagar locality, revealed no visit or inspection of houses by NMC’s Health Department teams. Similar talk with Gajanan Thakre of Binaki Mangalwari, Saroj Bhamburkar of Zingabai Takli, Ahmed Rafiq Sheikh of Indora Slums, and with other citizens of different localities mentioned by NMC squarely exposed the claims of visits and searches for Dengue patients or mosquito larvae or other preventive steps.
The statement of Jaishree Thote, Malaria-Filaria Officer of NMC’s Health Department that citizens’ co-operation was must to prevent further spread of dengue is far away from the truth. Citizens will co-operate when the teams visit their houses. She further says, “Our teams are inspecting households, open plots, schools, offices, wells etc and searching for mosquito breeding spots. There are still pockets of stagnant water despite officials’ directions during inspections. Water can be seen stored in coolers, flower pots etc in households. Fogging and other operations are undertaken in area from where dengue positive case registered. Citizens should co-operate with the civic body.” These words of the NMC officials can only be verified by the citizens of the areas.
A visit to the Health Department of NMC showed the officials and employees still in Diwali bash mood. Gifts and sweets were freely being exchanged. Topics other than the menace were hotly discussed. Not a single soul was found doing any Dengue related worth work, at least on paper.
The ground reality Dengue is rampant in Nagpur with hundreds of cases reported and are being reported. The unofficial number might be double or triple as Nagpur Municipal Corporation says many private hospitals do not report the number to it. In fact the private hospitals are minting money taking advantage of Dengue scare by various dubious means.
Time has come for NMC to act and act quickly in real sense of the word. Further gimmicks and bragging could spell disaster for gullible citizens of Nagpur City.