Citizens' Issues
Malaria War: Mumbai does not have enough insecticides

The metropolis is fighting a war against malaria. However, the BMC does not have enough insecticides to combat the disease

Malaria is spreading like wildfire in Mumbai. In July, there has been a three-fold rise in cases diagnosed with the disease compared to last year. Amidst the lack of beds in hospitals and shortage of medicines, here comes another shocker. Civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) does not have enough insecticides to ward off the mosquitoes spreading the disease.

According to a few BMC officials, the municipal authority does not have enough stock of insecticides to curb this disease. They said that the government has not been able to provide adequate funds for buying insecticides, plus payments have not been made to the insecticide manufacturer; even the supply chains are not working.

"We haven't received the necessary funding and there seems to be some payment issues with the insecticide manufacturing company," a BMC official told Moneylife on the condition of anonymity.

There is a shortage of stocks for medicines like Vectobac, and insecticides such as DDVP and Pyrethrum, to combat the disease. Another BMC official told us that ward officers have been asking for the insecticides, but have not been receiving them. "We have received our quota (for our ward), but for the past few days, (other) ward officers have been requesting for insecticides, but they have been told to wait," the official told Moneylife.
"As of today, we have got adequate insecticides, which will last us for a month - and we are in the process of procuring insecticides soon," said Dr Arun Bamne, BMC's chief insecticide officer. He refuted the allegations that there were inadequate funds for insecticides and said that there were no delays in distribution.

According to BMC data, in July, 12,000 people tested positive for malaria from the one lakh slides taken in house-to-house surveys. Last year, during the same period, there were 4,380 positive cases. The number of malaria cases in July has not only more than doubled compared to last year, it could very much be the highest number ever recorded in Mumbai.

Malaria spreads through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. The monsoon and post-monsoon period from June to November is considered the high transmission season for malaria.

(This is the first part of a continuing series on the malaria threat facing the city)




7 years ago

Large water surfaces as well as water tanks could be tried with plastics beads that float and prevent musquitoes breeding. This would eleminate the need for insecticides.

Idea under scanner for 3,640 connections to one person

New Delhi: In a major breach of licence terms and conditions, Birla group firm Idea Cellular has issued a whopping 3,640 connections to a single person and his company, endangering national security, reports PTI.

"Yes, Idea Cellular had issued 3,640 post-paid connections to a single person and his company, Limco Sales Corporation of Delhi and as per the report of the Department of Telecom (DoT), the bulk connections have been rented out to other customers," minister of state for telecom and IT Sachin Pilot said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

He said the home ministry has intimated that security agencies face problems in establishing identity of actual users in cases where bulk connections have been activated in the name of a single user/location/organisation, and the numbers have been further distributed/rented for use.

To a query whether this endangers national security, Mr Pilot said "this practice of providing mobile connections to an individual without maintaining his identity particulars has security implications and operational activities of security agencies are hampered due to non-availability of identity of a particular suspected target."

Idea Cellular has over 68 million mobile subscribers and has operations in most of the circles across the country.

Mr Pilot said the licence conditions provide that "utmost vigilance should be exercised in providing bulk telephone connections for a single user as well as for a single location."

Provision of 10 or more connections may be taken as bulk for this purpose, he said.

"Special verification of bonafide should be carried out for providing such bulk connections. Information about bulk connections shall be forwarded to respective Vigilance Telecom Monitoring cell of DoT and concerned officials authorised by DoT and security agencies from time to time on monthly basis," he said.


States say petroleum items to remain outside GST

New Delhi: The states have rejected the Centre's proposal to include petroleum products in the ambit of goods and services tax (GST) sought to be implemented from the next fiscal, even as the union government said it would help check volatility in fuel prices, reports PTI.

"Petroleum products will be out of the GST," Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers Chairman Asim Dasgupta said here.

Addressing the Lok Sabha yesterday, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had called for the inclusion of petroleum products in proposed goods and services tax (GST) so that sharp domestic price movements can be checked.

"If we receive cooperation from all houses concerned and introduce GST and bring within its purview petrol and other petroleum products, and with your support introduce it from April 2011, I do feel the type of variations in petroleum prices can be taken care of," Mr Mukherjee had said.

Mr Mukherjee repeated the request in the Rajya Sabha today.

In fact, even some of the Congress states are also in favour of keeping oil products out the GST regime.

Recently, Delhi finance minister AK Walia had said he would request the empowered panel and the Centre to keep diesel, petrol, and compressed natural gas (CNG) out of the new indirect tax regime, saying keeping oil products and CNG under GST will result in financial losses to the city government that is already facing fund crunch due to the huge spend on the Commonwealth Games.

In fact, a discussion paper floated by the empowered committee also talked about keeping the petroleum products out of the purview of the GST.

"As far as petroleum products are concerned, it was decided that the basket of petroleum products, crude, motor spirit (including ATF) and HSD (high speed diesel) would be kept outside GST," the paper said. In fact, petroleum products are outside even the state-level value added tax (VAT).

The discussion paper had said that "sales tax could continue to be levied by the states on these products with prevailing floor rate. Similarly, the Centre could also continue its levies."

It also said a final view whether natural gas should be kept outside the GST ambit will be taken after further deliberations.

The empowered committee's decision is yet another blow to the Centre's plans over the proposed GST. Yesterday, the states had rejected the draft constitutional bill to roll out GST, a opposing the veto power of the Union finance minister over state taxation issues.

The Centre has proposed a three tier-rate structure for GST-20% and 12% for goods and 16% for services. GST is slated to be introduced from next fiscal, after the earlier deadline of implementing it from this fiscal was missed.


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