Dengue claims fourth schoolkid in a fortnight

KOLKATA: Mohammed Ahmed, a 12-year-old boy from Sharif Lane in central Kolkata, died of dengue on Saturday morning. The Class VII student of St Mary’s School became the ninth dengue victim — and the fourth student — in the city and its suburbs in a fortnight.

While family members and neighbours of the deceased accused KMC of inaction, the civic authorities conceded that there were reasons to conduct special anti-dengue drives in the area — Sharif Lane and its neighbouring localities, including Ripon Street, Elliot Road, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road and Taltala — that is considered dengue-prone.

However, residents of Sharif Lane on Saturday expressed doubts over the civic body’s intention. According to Bilquis Khan, the landlady of the house Mohammed Ahmed lived in, the life of the child could have been saved had the KMC taken played active role in time. “We had often complained of garbage piling up and water accumulating. But no action was taken. The civic body did not bother to visit our lanes to kill mosquito larvae. A KMC team cleaned the garbage on a war-footing after the local councillor paid a visit on Saturday,” she alleged.

A section of Sharif Lane residents also refuted the civic body’s claim that a KMC health department team often visits localities to check whether anyone is suffering from fever. “Ahmed was suffering from for the past 10 days. No one from the KMC came to take note of his condition,” said Sabah, his next-door neighbour.

According to Rizwan Ahmed, the victim’s maternal uncle, his nephew was first taken to a private practitioner in the locality, who advised a test. “After Ahmed tested negative for malaria, the doctor did not recommend a dengue test. However, Ahmed had to be rushed to Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata, as his condition deteriorated on Wednesday. He then had to be taken to a private hospital close to Moulali the same day. He went through a series of tests and finally, he tested positive for dengue on Friday night. But it was too late by then. He suffered renal failure,” Rizwan said. However, there was no official confirmation of Ahmed’s death from the KMC health department.

A visit to the locality on Saturday afternoon revealed the threat under which the residents are living. Several puddles of stagnant water were detected in the area. Mounds of garbage were visible even after a special cleanliness drive by the KMC solid waste management department on Saturday morning.

Rahat, a resident of Sharif Lane and a student of Moulana Azad College, felt that more than anything else, the civic body needed to conduct an awareness drive to educate the residents about dos and don’ts of dengue prevention. Iqbal Ahmed, deputy mayor and father of local councillor Sana Ahmed, assured residents of all efforts to combat dengue in the locality.

Download The Times of India for Latest .