Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign '10 Hafte, 10 Baje, 10 Minute' to combat dengue may have received tremendous support from public figures and celebrities from the Bollywood, but it missed a 6,000 square yard swamp in the capital's Chhattarpur area that poses serious health hazards to locals as well as students studying in a school just next to it.
The plot on Jonapur, Mangat Ram Marg, has been a dumping spot for sewage water and garbage for over 15 years now and becoming an extremely fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes spreading diseases like dengue, malaria and chikungunya, the India Today reported. With the onset of monsoon, Delhi and other parts of the country witness large number of mosquito-borne diseases.
Though a number of letters have been sent and a slew of appeals have been made to the municipal and local government authorities, nothing has been done to clear up this piece of land, the report said. Water gets accumulated in the plot that has a broken boundary wall, even after a short spell of rain.
This monsoon season has been no exception. "We have written several letters to the concerned authorities including the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi), but to no avail. Day by day the situation is becoming worse as this is the season when mosquitoes breed here and children fall sick. Kids studying in nursery to Class 8 are the most vulnerable," Anita Ahuja, who runs the Gyan Kunj Public School right next to the swamp was quoted as saying by India Today.
She added, "Despite taking precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bites, the students fall sick. I don't understand why the authorities are not clearing the sewage water from here, even though the Chief Minister himself is running an awareness campaign on mosquito-breeding.”
According to the data by the municipal corporation, Delhi has reported nearly 50 cases of malaria in the first week of September, taking the total number of people affected by the mosquito-borne disease to over 200 this year. The number of dengue cases recorded till September 7 stood at 122.
The report quoted Sushil, a worker at an electronics shop situated near the swamp, saying that the mosquito menace intensifies during the evenings.
"There are times when we have no choice but to shut the shop to save ourselves from mosquito bites," he added.
Sushma (38), who lives in Jonapur village and works at a farmhouse, told Mail Today: "Two years ago I was hospitalised after I was diagnosed with dengue. Since then I take precautionary measures. This particular piece of land is always filled with sewage water and there are a lot of mosquitoes around. I have to cross it four times a day.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched a special campaign against dengue on September 1 and urged people of the capital to inspect their homes for stagnant water every Sunday morning for 10 minutes. The campaign which will be on till November 15 is gaining a lot of traction on social media, with MLAs, government officials sharing photographs and videos on various platforms. However, when it comes to this particular plot of submerged land in Chhatarpur, government officials simply pass-the-buck with dexterity.
For years, local residents, RWA and authorities of Gyan Kunj Public School have been approaching MCD, PWD, Flood Control and other departments, but nothing happened. Four years ago, the PWD had constructed a drain to drive out the water that gets accumulated, but it was not of much help. "There is no political and administrative will, or else this dirty water could have been diverted towards the trees in the Ridge area by putting up a treatment plant," Sukhbir Singh, founder member of the Jonapur Rural Ekta Samaj Parishad was quoted as saying by India Today.
Most of the sewage water flowing into the plot comes from Jonapur village. Kartar Singh Tanwar, the local Aam Aadmi Party MLA, assured that he will resolve the problem after monsoon. "I was not aware of the threat posed by the piece of land. I will try to fix the issue as soon as Monsoon is over," Mail Today reported Kartar Singh Tanwar as saying.