Mosquito menace leads to protest

Affected people are from areas close to Musi river

On Tuesday, dozens of men raising slogans against Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation barged into the south zone office of the civic body. The men waved mosquito-swatting bats and demanded action against the nightly aerial menace that’s bedevilling large swathes of the city. “We cannot read, we cannot watch TV, we cannot entertain guests. Our whole focus is on killing mosquitoes and not getting bitten by them,” says Raza Abbas Zaidi, a resident of Noor Khan Bazaar, who led the protest. “We have peace only for a few hours in the daytime. Between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. we cannot step outside. We thought a new mayor will bring about some change but nothing is happening so we protested,” said Mr. Zaidi, who runs an NGO.

The complaints about mosquitoes stretch the length and breadth of the Musi river and in areas abutting lakes and nalas.

“Earlier, GHMC would carry out fogging activity every alternate day. Now there is nothing. I live near Salar Jung Museum. The whole area is covered in a cloud of mosquitoes in the evening. I think it is due to the garbage that is not being cleared regularly,” says Hyder Ali, who joined the protest on Tuesday. “Malakpet, Chanchalguda, Gowliguda, Dar-ul-Shifa, Dabeerpura and most areas in the Old City are affected by the mosquitoes,” says Mr. Ali

According to GHMC officials the unseasonal spread of mosquito menace is due to stagnant water, both indoor and outdoor. “We have 185 lakes and domestic drainage is flowing into them. We are getting complaints and we are trying to redress them. The community should take charge. If apartments and households don’t release their domestic waste into water bodies the problem can be solved,” says an entomologist of GHMC.

“We have deployed 11 drones, are cleaning up lake edges of water hyacinth, releasing gambusia fish into water bodies, desilting nalas and cleaning river Musi,” said the official listing measures of the civic body to control the menace.

The stifling heat of summer and the mosquito menace has meant that citizens cannot even keep doors and windows open.

“It’s actually the first summer when the menace is this bad in the area. The mosquitoes appear to be some mutated species because no repellent is killing them. Can’t even keep the doors and windows locked all the time because in this heat wave we do need some ventilation. And there’s only so much relief we can find using bats,” says Maleeha Fatima, a resident of Hussaini Alam.

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