CUTTACK: They were supposed to provide the biological weapon to control mosquito menace in the city, but they themselves have been converted into ideal vector habitats. And, all credit goes to the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC).
Languishing in a defunct state, the four hatcheries for production of gambusia fish, which feed on mosquito larvae and used as a potent counter against the dengue and malaria causing insects across the world, have turned into a breeding ground of the latter.
Two decades back, the CMC had set up the four hatcheries. While two hatcheries were located at near the CMC office - Biju Bhawan, the two others were established on the premises of Sishu Bhawan and Old Secretariat. Each hatchery had a capacity to produce 2,000 to 2,500 fingerlings.
On average, each fish used to produce 120 eggs at a time and breed 25 to 30 times in a four-year span.
But all the hatcheries have been lying defunct for the last several years due to lack of maintenance. The abandoned hatcheries now have tuned breeding grounds for mosquitoes due to stagnation of rainwater.
As the corporation is yet to take responsibility to pump the water out, residents living in the neighbourhood struggle to get rid of mosquito menace.
Broken tree branches, creepers and other waste materials are continuing to decompose in the hatcheries. Even empty bottles of alcohol and plastics are found floating in the facilities.
Generally, the civic body used to produce gambusia fish in the hatcheries during rainy season and later release them in the drains to gobble up the larva. But the CMC is yet to take steps for cleaning and maintenance of the hatcheries, locals complained.
City health officer Satyabrat Mohapatra, however, said the hatcheries were lying defunct before his joining the CMC.
“Though we have been producing gambusia and guppy fish naturally in drains at some places, steps are being taken for revival of these hatcheries,” said Mohapatra.