The 3-feet-high saplings will be planted in OSR lands, river banks and parks

In the first phase of an attempt to implement sustainable models of mosquito control, Chennai Corporation will procure five lakh nochi plants.

The civic body, this week, invited bids from companies who will supply 3-feet-high nochi saplings.

The company will be responsible for maintenance of the saplings for a period of six months.

A substantial chunk of these plants is likely to be planted in OSR lands, river banks and parks. Chennai Corporation is planning to plant the herbs on river banks after the clearing of debris and garbage is completed.

The Corporation has spent crores of rupees for cleaning the banks of the Adyar, Cooum and other waterways of the Water Resources Department in a bid to control mosquito breeding. The initiative started on March 18 and has considerably reduced mosquito breeding.

The adult density of mosquitoes had come down to 8 in May this year as compared to 40 in 2012.

The larval density had also reduced from 6 in May 2012 to 1 in 2013.

However, the intermittent rain in June is likely to lead to the development of mosquito breeding grounds, posing a serious challenge to mosquito control operations.

Officials of Chennai Corporation attributed the dip in adult and larval density to the cleaning operations on river banks and added that planting of nochi would be the key to sustainable mosquito control in the city.

Every year, the civic body spends more than Rs. 5 crore on mosquito control operations.

As mosquito density had continued to rise, the civic body held discussions with officials from various departments including the agriculture department to identify species of herbs that keep mosquitoes away.

Nochi plants were finally shortlisted and the Corporation council passed a resolution to procure and distribute them to all the residents in the city, free of cost.

As some residents are likely to avoid responsibility of watering nochi plants, the Corporation will use river banks and areas along drains to plant such herbs.

The planting of nochi plants on banks may also facilitate their use by residents.

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