Mumbaikars living near the proposed Churchgate Metro construction site have pointed to a rise in the number of dengue and malaria cases in the area in the past one month. They have blamed the pits dug up for Metro pillars, which have become a breeding ground for mosquitoes after filling up with rainwater.
Ashwin Nagpal, whose residential building is adjacent to the proposed entry and exit points of Churchgate Metro station, said three of his family members and a domestic help have got infected with dengue.
Nagpal said, “They filled up right after the first rains last month. My 73-year-old mother, along with my sister and her daughter have been infected.” He said multiple cases are being reported from other buildings in his neighbourhood.
Another Churchgate resident, Lolita Shivadasani said many senior citizens, who have recently recovered from Covid-19, are now down with dengue. She, too, blamed the Metro pits and said at least nine cases of dengue and malaria have already been reported from buildings in her area.
Local BJP corporator Harshita Narwekar confirmed that the number of dengue cases in her constituency have increased steadily in the past one month. She told Free Press Journal, “Most of the cases are being reported from Churchgate and nearby areas due to Metro pits. We are in constant touch with civic officials and ensuring that fumigation drives are carried out regularly.”
However, assistant municipal commissioner in-charge of A-ward, Chanda Jadhav said her office has not received any official complaints of rise in dengue cases. Jadhav said, “Even though we haven’t received formal complaints, we are carrying out fumigation drives in our wards, especially in areas that are known to be potential breeding ground for mosquitoes.”
Meanwhile, the BMC said that between January 1 and July 11, a total of 1,991 cases of malaria and 57 of dengue were reported in Mumbai. As per the data, in June itself, 357 cases of malaria and 12 cases of dengue were reported. So far in July, 230 cases of malaria and eight cases of dengue have been reported.
A civic official said many cases remain unreported as patients consult private doctors for treatment and don’t inform the BMC health department.