RAWALPINDI - With the start of spring season, the killer dengue mosquitoes are rearing their ugly heads again not in far-flung areas but right in the mid of the Cantonment residential-cum-commercial areas as owners of many vehicle services stations use to fill uncovered huge-sized underground tanks with clean water to wash the vehicles.
This unchecked and dangerous practice has been providing an ideal atmosphere for breeding of dengue mosquitoes.
Unfortunately, Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) and high-ups of the District Health Department (DHD) are seemed to be in slumber as no action is being taken against the owners of these vehicle services stations, which simply have become "breeding centres for dengue larvae and mosquitoes".
Because of shoddy jobs of authorities concerned, the lives of tens of thousands of traders at risk.
In last year, more than eight people died with deadly dengue virus and over 1,000 people, including women and children badly affected as well. However, the health officials and civic body failed to control spread of dengue virus in the start of new season and left the people on the mercy of dengue mosquitoes.
A visit of this scribe to Bahoo Muhalla on Thursday unearthed two bulky underground uncovered water tanks at a service station located behind Shinwari Restaurant. Similarly, same kinds of service stations have been functioning in Gawalmandi, Gunjmandi and in Akbar Market.
The contractor namely Karim Khan and workers of this "unnamed service station" use to fill these two water tanks with an electric motor with clean water apparently to avoid the damages of unexpected loadsheeding and wash the cars through out the day.
The length of these two water tanks is approximately 120 feet and width 40 feet while height 30 feet, it was observed. The contractor and workers of the service station refused to talk to this scribe.
According to a mechanic, who runs a workshop in the premises of this service station, the traders, mechanics and residents were tired of having their repeated pleas to political representatives and civic authorities to ask the owner and contractor of the service station to cover these two tanks but no body was listening.
He said that last year two mechanics namely Raza and Ikram were tested dengue positive and the matter was taken up with the traders' representatives but to no avail. "The RCB and DHD should take concrete steps to cover these opened tanks so as to pre-empt breeding of mosquitoes," he said. Many other traders and mechanics urged the RCB and DHD to fumigate the premises to keep them save from dengue fever.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) RCB Fahim Zafar, however, when contacted for his comments, said that the civic body has launched a door-to-door dengue awareness campaign in the cantonment areas. He said that surprise raids would also be conducted on all these service stations and strict action would also be taken against them. No official of DHD was available for his point of view on the issue.