If you are ‘breeding’ mosquitoes, you have to pay for it. This diktat by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seems to have taken three Bandra residents by surprise when they were asked to pay Rs10,000 each as fine for leakages in their building pipeline.
Soli Kharas, Dr Venugopal Nair and Dr Jaiprakash Hebbar, who are tenants in Rao’s House, a building on plot number 49A on Turner Road, were visited by Ravindra Shinde, a junior overseer from H-West ward office, on October 14. Shinde allegedly asked their family members to pay up the fine as the leakages had resulted in breeding mosquitoes that caused dengue. He had also left his phone number with them.
“Shinde claimed it was a mosquito-breeding site and asked us to pay the fine,” said Nair. Chief of Perry Road Residents’ Association Anil Joseph smells a rat behind the manner in which the residents were asked to pay the fine. “Before serving any notice, the corporation should first give the people concerned time to rectify the problem. But that is not the case here. So, we have raised the matter before assistant municipal commissioner Prashant Sakpale,” said Joseph. He added that the corporation’s announcement of fining residents if mosquito-breeding sites are found in their societies or homes is being exploited by the BMC staff.
Shinde, however, refuted the allegation and said that he did not ask them to pay any fine. “I visited the society and gave them a copy each on the precautions to be taken to avoid dengue. But never asked them to pay fine,” said Shinde.
Despite repeated attempts, Sakpale could not be reached. However, on being asked, additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said that the matter will be probed into and relevant action will be initiated if the official is found guilty. “Initially, we sensitize people about averting spread of dengue. If they fail to comply, then notices are issued to them. There is no question of BMC recovering fines from residents. There is a due procedure and it is only the court (of metropolitan magistrate) that can fine a resident/society if found guilty,” said Mhaiskar.