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Alandur disease outbreak sparks concern

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, DEC. 1. A sudden rise in the incidence of communicable diseases in Alandur has sparked concern among residents about the preventive steps being taken by the local body, according to Alandur Municipality councillors.

At a council meeting on Tuesday, the members voiced their concern over the local body's slackness when it comes to buying chemicals and insecticides to control the outbreak of these diseases.

The councillors said the Municipality had not procured insecticides for the past eight months despite the council's approval.

B. Hari Prasad, councillor, submitted records from 13 private hospitals and nursing homes on patients treated for typhoid, malaria and dengue.

According to the figures, over 450 cases of typhoid, 221 cases of malaria and nearly 400 cases of dengue were reported at the hospitals in October and November, Mr. Hari Prasad said. Besides, several patients were receiving treatment at private clinics in Alandur.

The municipal chairman, R.S. Bharathi, said procurement of insecticides was delayed as the government had stopped supply of the chemicals to local bodies some time back. The municipal officials did not go in for local purchases following the `bleaching powder scam' in 1996, which had tainted several officials, Mr. Bharathi said.

However, insecticides and chemicals for disease control had been procured from the Government last week, he added.

A section of the councillors, including M.M. Fahim and Kutty alias Ramadas, sought clarifications on how the municipality proposed to deal with the "illegal" connections for underground sewerage given to residents without the local body's permission.

The municipal commissioner, S.K. Mohan Kumar, assured them that officials would check and disconnect illegal connections.

Consumers who had not paid the deposit and connection charges would not be eligible for house connections.

Mr. Bharathi said about 95 per cent of the house connections had been completed. The rest were caught up in procedural delay.

Another councillor, K.C. Rajendran, sought to know if the municipality would take up development works at a private school in Balakrishnapuram at a cost of Rs. 10 lakhs, as decided a few months ago. The chairman said the Government had refused to sanction funds because the school was under private management.

Several children had fallen ill over the past few months due to the unhygienic conditions at the school. Moreover, the teachers in the school had not been paid salaries for the past few months, he added.

Councillors also sought more drinking water for the Alandur Municipality.

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