∝Rural and urban local bodies in the city’s southern suburbs have stepped up their drive to spread awareness among the residents on measures to prevent the outbreak of dengue.

With news reports and government agencies too confirming deaths caused due to dengue in various parts of Tamil Nadu, the local bodies have scaled up their awareness drive in the past few weeks. In Tambaram, a dedicated team of staff hired by the Municipality, in addition to employees of the local body, has been engaged in door-to-door campaigns, interacting directly with people, especially women and children on the preventive measures that needed to be adopted on keeping dengue fever at bay.

M. Karikalan, Municipal Chairman, told Downtown that, before dengue broke out in the State, people were very callous and were not too keen on letting their staff inside their house for fuming or clearing unwanted stuff kept inside their homes for a long time. However, there was a complete turnaround in their attitude once they stepped up their campaign. Added to this were reports of sporadic outbreak of the fever.

To prevent people from panicking, the Municipal administration is engaged in a series of information, education and awareness campaigns. The Municipal staff were trained as they were at the forefront of the awareness campaigns to educate people on the ‘do’s and don’t’s’. Mr. Karikalan said that people were asked to dispose unwanted appliances, clothes, helmets, rubber products and other refuse kept inside their homes for a long time. Residents were reminded to ensure that fresh water did not stagnate anywhere inside their homes or in the vicinity.

Municipal officials said the dedicated team of private staff hired for this purpose visited each and every household in all the 39 households of the Municipality and sprayed anti-dengue fuming gas.

Staff also pasted a sticker indicating that the house had been completely cleared of unwanted things and that it had been fumigated. The fumigation was done thoroughly in all the wards, but certain households were spared on the specific request from landlords if the house had children and senior-citizens who could not be move out.

Mr. Karikalan also said that storm water drains hereafter would be permanently covered with cement concrete slabs to eliminate the possibility of mosquitoes breeding in the stagnant water.

Further, it would also prevent people from dumping solid waste into the drains and thereby preventing choking and obstructions in the drains. However, the slabs would be provided with manholes to make it possible for staff to clean the drain in the event of plastic and paper waste coming in the free flow of grey water.

Similar awareness campaigns and mass cleaning operations in the wards were carried out in Chitlapakkam and Sembakkam Town Panchayats, led by R. Mohan and G.M.R. Santhakumar, Chairmen of the panchayats. C. Rajendran, South Chennai Lok Sabha MP, led officials of the St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union during an awareness campaign at Nanmangalam Village Panchayat. Selvarani Sundar, President of the Panchayat, was also present.  

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