Palike's dengue drive on fast track

Plans state-of-the-art lab costing Rs 50 lakh to test suspected cases

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will reach out to 20 lakh people in the next 10 days as part of its dengue awareness drive.

It will also set up a laboratory on the lines of National Institute of Virology at a cost of Rs 50 lakh. Three ‘rapid test/cross test’ units will also be set up in the City.

Replying to allegations by the Opposition parties that the Palike had failed to contain the spread of dengue, at the monthly Council meeting on Tuesday, BBMP Commissioner M K Shankarlinge Gowda admitted to the lapse and said he did not expect the disease to spread so fast. He said dengue was a seasonal disease, which could be controlled by creating awareness among the people. He sought the corporators’ help in making the awareness drive successful.

Earlier, Opposition leader M ­K Gunashekar grilled the ruling BJP over the dengue deaths. “The drive, which should have begun in April, is starting now. We have to find a solution which lasts longer,” Gunashekar said. Gunashekar demanded compensation to the next of kin of the dengue victims.
 “Since we have failed to discharge our duties properly, it is our moral duty to give them compensation,” he said.

So far, 715 people are affected in the City, whereas BBMP health department has put the number at 134, Gunashekar said.

He said the blood platelet count had come down drastically among dengue patients and asked the commissioner to set up more number of blood banks and provide free blood to the patients from economically-weaker sections. 

He demanded that more health camps be conducted in the 110 villages, eight city municipal councils and one town municipal council, which were newly-added to the City.

‘Rein in BMTF’

The Palike has decided to clip the wings of the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF). The move comes in the wake of arrest warrants being issued to Palike engineers by a court  for inaction on complaints of building byelaw violation. The BMTF had filed a charge sheet  against the engineers.

Palike Commissioner M K Shankarlinge Gowda told the Palike Council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday that as per the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act, the BMTF should function under the BBMP commissioner. 

He said the BMTF authorities should have sought his permission before issuing the arrest warrants. “It is a rule that the Lokayukta or the BMTF should seek permission from the appointing authority before initiating any action,” he said.

The BMTF’s act was condemned by corporators cutting across party lines.BJP corporator Gangabyraiah sought to know who was supreme - the commissioner or the ADGP of the BMTF.

Describing BMTF’s action as selective, Congress corporator M Nagaraj said the task force was targeting BBMP officers, while turning a blind eye to the working of other civic agencies like BDA, BWSSB and Karnataka Slum Development Board.

The Palike members demanded that the commissioner exercise his authority over the watchdog agency, under Section 492 (3) of the KMC Act.

Earlier in the day, Palike engineers staged a dharna outside the Council hall demanding that the BMTF be reined in.

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