Neither the north nor the south city corporation of Dhaka has ever bought insecticides meant to kill Aedes mosquitoes, which caused the current dengue epidemic in Dhaka that has recently spread all over Bangladesh.
The two city corporations have always bought insecticides meant to kill adult Culex mosquitoes, city officials said.
There are allegations that the insecticides that the city authorities bought in January-April have also been proved ineffective against even Culex mosquitoes.
The Dhaka South City Corporation, as officials said, bought the insecticide that the Dhaka North City Corporation rejected for being ineffective.
The south city authorities bought the insecticide without any tender and for prices higher than what its producer, Limit Liquid Insecticides Ltd, offered the north city authorities, the officials said.
They said that the South City Corporation bought the insecticide of Limit for Tk 378 a litre via Dockyard and Engineering Works Ltd in Narayanganj under the direct procurement method although Limit Agroproducts offered to sell the insecticide to the North City Corporation for Tk 217 a litre in the 2019 financial year.
The North City Corporation later bought insecticide from Nokon Mosquito Insecticide for Tk 289 a litre.
Dhaka’s north mayor Md Atiqul Islam alleged that Nokon had supplied substandard insecticide as it maintained a syndicate composed of all the city corporation officials concerned.
He said that the city corporation would now directly import insecticide and had already obtained import licence.
Nokon’s general manager Khalid Hossain brushed the allegations.
Limit Agroproducts offered to supply insecticide for Tk 217 a kilogram while the North City Corporation bought Nokon’s insecticide for Tk 279.
Dhaka’s south mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon said that they had bought the insecticide on the technical committee’s recommendations.
‘The South City Corporation uses insecticide based on test results. As the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control And Research and the Plant Protection Wing gave affirmative test results, the city authorities bought the insecticide from a government agency,’ he said.
He said that there was no need for tendering when a government agency bought products from another government agency.
Dockyard and Engineering Works Ltd produces and repairs ships and does general engineering but it has no function with chemicals or insecticides, a former official of the entity said.
‘Dockyard and Engineering should not act as a broker, which it does,’ he said.
The company’s managing director Commodore Shamsul Alam neither received any call nor responded to text massages.
A duty officer at Dockyard and Engineering said that the officials concerned had instructed him not to make any comment on the issue.
Limit director Mizanur Rahman denied having supplied the South City Corporation with low-quality insecticide and said that the South City Corporation continued to buy insecticide from Dockyard and Engineering based on test results.
He, however, said that they had no deals with the South City Corporation and they rather had supplied Dockyard and Engineering with the insecticide.
The South City Corporation’s stores and purchase officer Md Nuruzzaman said that they had a deal with the Bangladesh Navy’s Dockyard and Engineering Works in Narayanganj.
‘I do not know where Dockyard and Engineering procures the insecticide from,’ he said.
The North City Corporation buys a mixture of Permethrin, Tetramethrin and Es-bioallethrin to kill adult mosquitoes.
The South City Corporation uses a mixture of Tetramethrin, Permethrin and Prallethrin to kill adult mosquitoes.
Both the insecticides have always been tested on Culex mosquitoes, the officials concerned said.
The IEDCR director Meerjady Sabrina Flora said that they had always tested the efficacy of the insecticide on Culex, and not on Aedes, keeping to the city corporations’ requirements.
Before using any insecticide, the city corporations test samples in field and then send it to the IEDCR and the Plant Protection Wing laboratory for tests.
Meerjady Sabrina Flora said that how the same medicine could give different results but the IEDCR tests only the samples that the city corporation supplied.
She said that the institute did not know whether the city corporations bought the same insecticide the sample of which they sent for tests.
Asked how Limit Agroproducts’ insecticide failed in the test for the North City Corporation but passed the test for the South City Corporation, the IEDCR director said that the institute had tested only the samples that the city corporations supplied.
The two city corporations have separate committees — composed of IEDCR and Plant Protection Wing representatives, individual experts, local government representatives, mosquito control wing in-charge and others — on buying insecticides. The insecticides are tested keeping to the same protocol in the same laboratory.
The city corporations spent more than Tk 30 crore in the 2019 financial year on controlling mosquitoes.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country