Corporation identifies 19 malaria high-risk areas

Special Correspondent

MANGALORE: Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) has decided to start slapping fines and cutting water connections to houses that do not have proper covers on their overhead tanks.

Speaking at a press conference here on Saturday, health committee chairman of the corporation Appi said this drastic step has become necessary as there appears to be no alternative to make people understand the importance of preventing mosquitoes from breeding in stagnant water including overhead tanks.

Ms. Appi who had a round of meetings with the district and city health officials was informed that over one lakh houses in the city have overhead tanks. Many of them have not taken steps to ensure that they are properly covered and as a result they have became "in-house mosquito breeding centres". Health officials had informed her about this earlier. However, after visiting a few houses and taking note of this herself she has decided to take this step, she said.

She said health officials are concerned with the growing number of malaria cases in Mangalore. Many houses with overhead tanks are covering them with corrugated sheets which have gaps through which mosquitoes can breed.

Ms. Appi said the general notion is that mosquitoes breed only in dirty water.

This is incorrect as they breeds in fresh water and overhead tanks are ideal for this. She said coordinator of the National Malaria Eradication Programme in Delhi has written to the corporation urging it to control of the spread of the disease at an early stage. According to statistics and details released by the coordinator, malaria is endemic in Mangalore with a high proportion of the population facing the danger of becoming carriers of the virus for life. She said the corporation has identified 19 high-risk places in Mangalore of which five have been marked as "hyper risk". They are: Bejai, Kodialbail, Car Street, Falnir and Kankanady. In these places intensive measures to check the spread of malaria have been initiated.

According to the corporation, construction sites are among the high-risk areas and notices have been served to developers to take precautionary measures immediately.

Ms. Appi appealed to the people to cooperate with authorities and allow them to inspect their overhead tanks.