NEW DELHI: Ignoring the mosquito by the rulers in Delhi has come back to bite its citizens with a vengeance. The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government ignored basic procedures like holding internal meetings to discuss containment and prevention of the seasonal epidemic. Pre-monsoon cleanliness drives were not planned or executed. Bureaucratic face-offs prevented health minister Satyendra Jain from keeping state health secretary Chandarkar Bharti in the loop.
Neither did the Municipal Corporation of Delhi nor the state administration run awareness campaigns—a pre-monson standard practice.
The government did not convert its anti-corruption helpline number 1031 into a vector-borne disease control room number like it had done last year. Despite Centre’s directions to take all required measures for raising awareness, state health secretary Chandarkar Bharti went on leave and health minister Satyendra Jain flew to Goa on the direction of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to campaign for the party in the upcoming state polls. Like Kejriwal’s Cabinet, the travel bug also bit the MCD.
North MCD mayor Sanjiv Nayyar is in Hague attending the Mayor’s conference. South MCD mayor Shayam Sharma went off to Khatu Shyamji in Rajasthan. Its three heads—Shailendra Singh Monty, chairman, standing committee of South Municipal Corporation of Delhi; Jeetu Chouwdhary, chairman, standing committee of East Municipal Corporation of Delhi; and Pravesh Wahi, chairman, standing committee of North Municipal Corporation of Delhi, are busy planning the inaugurations of schemes ahead of the crucial corporation polls scheduled next year.
Seeing the rising differences between the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) government and MCD, the Union Health Secretary CK Mishra called a meeting of all the stakeholders, including Delhi government, MCD and NDMC on August 24. He sought detailed reports on Chikungunya preventive measures. Both bodies were unable to submit their reports. Witnessing their lackadaisical attitude, Mishra warned them to be on alert for next two months.
The state administration did not ensure availability of adequate numbers of beds at government and private hospitals. No arrangements for blood at banks or availability of doctors and other staff at hospitals were made. No budget was allotted to combat the epidemic. Neither fever clinics were set up in the 26 state government hospitals and 262 Delhi government dispensaries, nor any testing facilities were made available. Worse, there is no equipment or machine to carry out tests for vector-borne diseases.
As per Delhi government 2011 census, there are 46, 05,555 houses in Delhi. Only after the Centre’s warning, did MCD manage to carry out fogging and fumigation in 15,09,238 houses—not even one-fourth of the city. Mosquito-breeding conditions were detected in 1,21,524 houses.
Before the AAP government came to power, former chief minister Sheila Dikshit used to hold weekly meetings on preventive measures for vector-borne diseases ahead of the monsoon. She also took the corporations along to carry out sanitation and fumigation work.