Reynold Lazarus, 29, a financial analyst, has been on sick leave for the last two weeks due to fever and body pain. He is under treatment for dengue. When he consulted a doctor, the first question was whether there was an open drain in front of his house in fourth main, fourth block, HBR Layout.
It turned out that BBMP had opened a drain in front of Lazarus’s house for some work three weeks ago, but is yet to close it. He later learnt that many neighbours too were infected by various diseases that are being attributed to the open drain.
Ironically, BBMP has been running a campaign warning citizens about dengue, including advising against leaving stagnant water as it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes which transmit the virus. Speaking from his hospital bed, Lazarus said that the BBMP wanted to widen a storm water drain. However, as elections approached, the work was abandoned, he says. When the city received rains recently, water started collecting in the open drain. Mosquitoes started breeding in the stagnant water, he added.
His sister Michelle George said, “Doctors clearly say that mosquitoes had infected my brother. After my brother’s hospitalisation, I got to know that many neighbours too are suffering from various diseases. I made several rounds of the BBMP office requesting the civic body to close the drain. Initially, I was told that I need to wait till the elections get over. The elections are over, but civic officials are least bothered. On the one hand, I need to attend to my brother. On the other, I am forced to plead with BBMP so that others in the family are not infected.”
Prakash, 35, another resident of the area who works in a private firm, is down with typhoid. He told Bangalore Mirror that he was infected by the water-borne disease due to the open drain.
Mangala Prabhakar, a resident of the locality, said, “When it rained heavily, drain water reached my door. Not only does it stink, even snakes are coming inside. We can’t get out of the house in the evening due to mosquitoes around the house. Civic workers opened the drain a few days before the elections, but left the work incomplete. No civic worker or elected representative is bothered about this problem despite repeated complaints.”
Local corporator (ward number 24) P Govindaraju said, “Widening of the drain is a Herculean task, which requires a minimum of two months. We had to stop mid-way due to the election code of conduct. However, we have resumed work. If anyone has fallen sick, I would be the first person to take care of them. I will visit the residences of every affected citizen and help them monetarily to bear their hospital expenses.”