Staff crunch hits fogging ops in Bengaluru

During monsoon, the BBMP engages gangmen to spray larvicide to control mosquito larvae in the CBD.

As the city braces for the monsoon, stagnant water could turn breeding ground for mosquitoes. However this season, mosquito repellents are perhaps the only remedy for citizens, as the BBMP is running short of trained staff (gangmen) to spray larvicide.

During monsoon, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike would have pressed the gangmen attached with the Mosquito Control Unit (MCU) to spray larvicide to control mosquito larvae in the central business district. However, with more than 90% of the gangmen retired, the Palike has only 35 gangmen to cater to the entire CBD, which is a Herculean task.

The shortage was brought to the notice of the civic body during a meeting by ex-mayor B N Manjunatha Reddy.

“Usually these gangmen were deployed to clear solid waste, which could trigger vector-borne diseases, or unclog drains where mosquitoes would breed. They would also spray larvicide to destroy the larvae. But of late they are not cleaning the drains, and the clogged drains are becoming breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Reddy explained.

According to officials, the civic body has about 540 sanctioned posts of gangmen in the MCU wing. But shockingly, only 35 gangmen are currently working in the CBD areas while the remaining have retired in recent times. This apart, the Palike has about 10 anti-larval operation (ALO) workers for each of the assembly constituency.

Dr Naveen Kumar, Nodal Officer, Mosquito Control, BBMP, said: “We are short staffed as 90% of the gangmen have retired. We have sent a request to the mayor and commissioner for recruitment. While ALOs and SWD officials will help us, it would be ideal to have trained men.”

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