As Bangladesh, especially the capital is reeling under massive dengue outbreak, mobile courts run by Dhaka’s two city corporations are penalising the residents keeping public places and government establishments hosting aedes mosquito breeding grounds out of purview.
Dengue already claimed at least 113 lives and at least 55,000 dengue patients are in hospitals across the country.
Dengue created an unprecedented panic across the country, including the cities and rural areas.
Dhaka South City Corporation chief health officer brigadier general Sharif Ahmed said that the city corporation requested the concern government officials to keep their infrastructure clean after destroying breeding spots but they paid no attention.
Mobile courts of both city corporations in the capital are taking punitive actions against the residents for having mosquito breeding spots inside their boundary but gave impunity to its own and government establishments.
Officials said that the DSCC and the Dhaka North City Corporation continued to run at least 13 mobile courts against the house owners and fined over Tk 75 lakh and jailed two for having aedes larva inside their homes.
‘It is abuse of power for evading own responsibility,’ said Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman.
He said that the city corporations were actually harassing residents during a period of disaster caused for the failure of the agencies to control mosquitos.
‘The two city corporations are taking such action against residents only to evade their responsibilities,’ he said.
The capital’s residents said that public spaces mostly owned by city corporations and other government agencies provide the aedes mosquito breeding grounds but no drives were held against them so far.
They said that bus terminals, markets, hospitals, schools, dumping stations, railway stations and other offices were at high risk of mosquito breeding for negligence of the agencies.
New Age visited different areas in the city and found mosquito larva at city corporations’ responsible area like on dilapidated roads at Kathalbagan, Farm Gate and Agargaon, at terminals including Gabtoli, Mohakhali, Saydabad where scrapped vehicles and old containers are dumped.
A plastic garden tub placed on a footbridge at Motijheel as part of Dhaka South City Corporation’s beautification project serves as a safe breeding place for aedes mosquito amid anti-mosquito drives in the city. This photo was taken on Monday. — Sourav Lasker
Mosquito larva were also found at Mirpur Ansar Camp, Dhanmondi police station and Agargaon police station’s dumping yard.
DSCC mobile courts on Monday fined Eastern View, S Farm Limited and nine house owners at Naya Paltan, Topkhana Road, Dhanmondi and Jatrabari Tk 228,000 as the courts found aedes larva inside these buildings.
Brigadier General Sharif said that the DSCC was not doing any illegal thing by taking action against residents and private building owners.
He said that they also requested the concern government officials to keep their infrastructure clean after destroying aedes breeding grounds.
He said that DSCC’s 57 teams found aedes mosquito larva inside 1,013 houses out of 52,318 they visited so far.
DSCC’s seven mobile courts also collected Tk 38 lakh in fines from house owners after finding aedes mosquito larva at their homes.
A DNCC mobile court conducts an anti-mosquito drive at Mohakhali Bus Terminal and adjacent areas on Monday. — New Age photo
DNCC mobile courts filed 118 cases and filed over Tk 37 lakhs against 97 house owners where they found aedes larva after visiting 1041 houses, officials said.
The city corporations took punitive actions mainly against individuals and some institutions including Centre for Policy Dialogue, Uttara’s Women Medical College Hospital, Lab Aid Hospital, Islami Bank Hospital and Pertex Group and a number of construction firms.
Architect Iqbal Habib said that the city corporations created distance with the residents by such actions while they needed their spontaneous involvement in all public welfare activities.
He said that the city corporations might take punitive actions against errant house owners if they intentionally cultivate mosquito for harming neighbours.
He said that city corporations and other government agency owned structure have high facility of mosquito breeding.
‘First city corporations should punish itself and other government agencies and then individuals,’ said Iqbal Habib.
He described the drives as anti-people activities which would hamper anti-mosquito drives when it turned as epidemic across the country.
He said an integrated and inclusive plan of action against aedes menace comprising city people was essential to fight the viral disease.
DGHS’s communicable disease wing found aedes mosquito larva at 12 spots out of 14 including 20 to 60 per cent containers inside the Rajarbagh Police lines in a survey conducted in between July 31 and August 4.
Epidemiologists said that the public spaces in Dhaka have high facilities for aedes breeding.
DSCC operated a hotline number so that the residents could destroy aedes mosquito breeding spots.
Residents alleged that DSCC officials did not visit houses even after complaints on phones.
The DSCC is scheduled to destroy aedes mosquito breeding grounds inside the Dhaka Medical College Hospital today for the 2nd time.
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