They live a hazardous, thankless life! Every season when Dengue Fever breaks, this brave, but uncared for, breed of mosquito-fighters, are called into action and ordered to risk their lives, to saves ours.
At a time when doctors are getting exposed for their callous behavior, resulting in numerous deaths, these apparently dispensable workers, belonging to the lowest-rung of the Municipal Corporation’s anti-malaria department, are doing the real life-saving.
And they are doing it without any safeguards.
Their orders? Rid every lane, every street, every house, every school, college, Government building and drain of mosquitoes, especially the dreaded ‘Aedes aegypti’!
These vulnerable workers handle poisonous substances, like temefos granules and liquids, BTI (bacteria used to destroy mosquito larvae), methylene and a few more with bare hands. There are no gas masks either! This apathy is disdainful.
Heavy-duty fumigation and spraying of other chemicals are taking a toll on their lungs and general health. They don’t have ear-plugs to cancel out the noise of the pumps they operate. They have no protective gear, no uniform to shield them from mosquito bite.
There is no respite. The weekly offs have been cancelled to meet the growing need for manpower. These men are easily disposable, would be the mindset behind so callously pushing them to face possible death, day in and day out.
These guys are not even regular employees, they are contract workers. Exploitation knows no boundary for our civic authorities. The Arvind Kejriwal Government has made insignificant strides. Hospital-hopping, whispering a few words of motivation in a patient’s ear, talking to family members, are nothing but posturing for the lenses. The Delhi CM should expand his attention sphere and reach out to those few who are languishing at the bottom, with no one to care.
It’s a hazardous profession, but there is no facility for medical check-ups. They are not given any preference, rather they are told to go to Government facilities, where they are kicked around like homeless waste!
And for all the risks they take, the Government pays them a measly salary, anywhere between eight and nine thousand. The MCD, too busy playing politics, have shown no empathy.
A worker in Ghaziabad has died of suspected Dengue fever already. Perhaps, it will take a few more deaths for the administration to spring into action for the forgotten heroes.