Civic body to unleash taskforce of 150 to cover 1 lakh households along Adyar River

This year, the Chennai Corporation has a new strategy to deal with the annual mosquito menace and the diseases it causes.

Private malaria workers will be deployed in zones along the Adyar River, to cope with the rising mosquito densities from July to October. The workers will carry out mosquito control operations — they will desilt drains, rid the area of breeding sources, fog the locality and check overhead tanks in households.

Adyar has been chosen as the pilot area as it sees a rise in mosquito density every year, and reports the maximum number of mosquito-related diseases such as malaria and dengue.

On Wednesday, the Corporation Council is likely to pass a resolution on using the services of 150 private workers for wards 170 to 182. The wards cover 1.33 lakh households.

These 150 workers will be in addition to the 142 permanent malaria workers who already carry out mosquito control operations along the Adyar River. The initiative is likely to be extended to other zones where the mosquito density is of alarming proportions.

“The number of permanent malaria workers is just not enough,” said a Corporation official.

“The recent drive to clear debris in the Adyar River has reduced the mosquito density in our ward. But some neighbourhoods continue to report large numbers of mosquitoes. The additional malaria workers will help residents considerably,” said S. Murugan, councillor of ward 177.

The civic body has spent crores of rupees cleaning the Adyar River and the Buckingham Canal in a bid to control mosquito breeding this year.

The initiative started on March 18. Officials said it had considerably decreased mosquito breeding, leading to a reduction in the adult density of mosquitoes from 40 in May 2012 to 8 this year. The larval density too, has reduced from 6 in May 2012 to 1 in 2013.

However, the intermittent rains and water scarcity this month are likely to lead to artificial and natural mosquito breeding grounds cropping up over the next few months. This may pose a serious challenge to mosquito control operations, an official said.

The private malaria workers will start work on July 1.