The latest dengue and malaria report collated by the Municipal Corporations of Delhi showed a sharp increase in dengue and chikungunya cases, but the civic bodies are short staffed and do not employ ‘regular’ domestic breeding checkers (DBCs) to counter the spread of vector-borne diseases.
In the North Corporation, while there are 129 sanctioned posts of ‘Malaria Inspectors’, the civic body has only 50. There is a single epidemiologist as against a required six. Similarly, instead of 15 senior malaria inspectors required to supervise ground staff in different zones, the corporation employs one. In the East, all seven vacancies for senior malaria inspectors are vacant and there are 19 malaria inspectors, against a required 65.
Additionally, over 1,400 domestic breeding checkers in the North, 700 in the East and approximately 1,700 in the South are all contractually employed for the period of monsoon. The DBCs are required to go door to door to check households for mosquito breeding conditions.
North Delhi Mayor Dr Sanjeev Nayyar said the corporation was “doing everything necessary” to counter the spread of the disease. “We have sufficient staff on ground. Yes they are contractually employed but we only require them a few months a year so that works for us. The shortage of supervisory staff will also be met soon,” he said.
According to civic officials, the different categories of malaria inspectors (category C workers) are required to be filled by the SSB while the corporations can only make D category appointment for itself. “They last sent a requisition approximately 10 years ago,” said an official.
In the South, Leader of the House, Subhash Arya said the shortage of supervisory staff will be met “within this week” and attributed this to a flood of applications that “need to be sorted.” He added the shortage would not affect efforts to counter dengue and chikungunya.