Dengue checkers' jobs hang in limbo

Delhi reports 10 new cases on Thursday

Even as 10 fresh cases of dengue were reported from across the capital on Thursday, the future of the muncipal corporations’ contract with workers who help fight the disease remains in limbo.

The eight-month contract of around 3,500 dengue breeding checkers, or DBC workers, is scheduled to end on Friday. But the three corporations are yet to decide whether they would extend their services.

The civic bodies usually hire DBC workers for eight months from April to November. However, Delhi health minister A K Walia instructed the three corporations on November 12 to hire the workers throughout the year as cases of dengue are still being reported.
As the state government also funds the salary of the DBC workers, the minister announced an additional sum of Rs 5 crore for the purpose.

However, the municipal bodies were still undecided on extending the services on Thursday. The official puts the onus on the Delhi government.

“We have no problem in extending the services. But the Delhi government needs to release the fund,” said leader of House in South Corporation Subhash Arya. 

He argued that Rs 5 crore altogether for the three corporations for the extra four months was not enough. “The monthly expenditure of the South Corporation on DBC workers' salary alone is around Rs 1 crore,” he said.

With 795 dengue cases reported, the South Corporation leads the civic bodies in the total cases of the vector-borne disease reported this season.

Of the ten fresh cases reported on Thursday, five are from South Delhi, followed by four from areas under North Corporation.

In an unusual trend, the maximum number of dengue cases in the month of November over the last six years have been reported in 2012. 

The officials of North and East corporations are also waiting for the budgetary approval.
“The health department has already forwarded a proposal to the additional commissioner. We are waiting for clearance from the Delhi government,” said North Corporation House leader, Mahendra Nagpal. 

Meanwhile, DBC workers said they have no intimation from the corporation whether they have to report to work from December 1 or not.

“We met officials. But we have not been given any final word whether we have to report to work from Saturday or not,” said Ashok Chaudhary, leader of DBC workers’ union.

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