Another capital stink: Ghulam Nabi blames CWG for dengue endemic

If the Commonwealth Games preparations in New Delhi have not created a surfeit of bad odour, here is another stinker – the government itself has blamed the organisers for spreading dengue fever, which has reached endemic proportions in the national capital.

On Sunday none other than union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad blamed the incomplete projects and the flurry of construction activities across the city for providing a fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes, giving a big push to the number of dengue cases. As many as 36 fresh cases were reported on Saturday alone, bringing the official total to 419.

The high incidence of dengue, which has been on for months and rapidly increasing in the last few days, has sent alarm bells ringing in the health ministry. ''Dengue and the presence of (stagnant) water are strongly related. Delhi is already dug up because of the CWG and it is also raining very heavily. Since water remains accumulated in many places, it becomes a breeding place for mosquitoes, which are contributing to diseases,'' said Azad.

According to statistics released by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the number of cases till this time in 2009 was only three. The figure was 55 and 12 during the corresponding period in 2008 and 2007, respectively.

Delhi health minister Kiran Walia told a newspaper, ''MCD has not been alert in checking breeding index at construction sites, and we have also been pushing them to create general awareness. Since mosquito control is a civic responsibility as well, these are areas where MCD has failed in performing its duties.''

While going into denial mode, civic officials are unable to fully refute the connection. MCD health officer N K Yadav says there is a spurt in the number of dengue cases because of rain. "The total number of dengue cases has crossed 400. Dengue cases will keep coming in till October, as this is the season for vector-borne diseases,'' he said.