BNP blames two mayors for dengue outbreak

BNP mayoral candidate in the last Dhaka North City Corporation election, Tabith Awal, speaks at a press conference on dengue situation in Dhaka on 21 July 2023.Prothom Alo

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has brought allegations of failure against the two mayors of Dhaka south and north city corporations as the dengue situation has worsened.

Leaders of the de facto opposition on Friday said at a media conference that the dengue situation has turned into an epidemic due to the “negligence” and “misrule” of the DSCC and DNCC mayors.

Two BNP leaders – Tabith Awal and Ishraque Hossain – said these blaming Atiqul Islam and Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh at the media conference at the party’s Naya Paltan headquarters in the capital.

Tabith Awal and Ishraque Hossain were the mayoral candidates of BNP in the last DNCC and DSCC elections.

On behalf of the party, Tabith Awal and Ishraque Hossain announced to take four steps in the emerging situation. Firstly, BNP leaders and activists would donate blood and encourage people to do the same for the dengue patients and create a site that would inform people where they would get blood.

Secondly, the party will organise awareness raising programmes regarding dengue and aedes mosquito; thirdly, they would identify the government establishments that have breeding grounds of aedes mosquito; and, fourthly, the BNP leaders and activists will work with people to control aedes mosquito in the inundated areas.

Tabith Awal, who was a mayoral candidate in the DNCC polls, said, “Today we are facing dengue epidemic. The city corporation was warned about this but the authorities did not pay heed to it. That is why we have been suffering.”

Alleging failure of the city corporation, he said, “They have taken some steps like making a mockery. They released fish and frog in different lakes. But the hotspots of aedes mosquito are the government buidings and offices; neither any drive is being conducted there nor anyone is being fined. The two mayors are blaming people for the situation and fining them.”

Mentioning that the number of death is more than the figures the health directorate (DGHS) is providing, Tabith Awal said, “It will not be possible to provide beds at hospital, medicine and medical care to the patients if the dengue situation worsens.”

Ishraque Hossain, who was a mayoral candidate in the DSCC election, said at the media conference, “The two mayors have occupied the power forcefully without any vote. The dengue situation has turned into an epidemic because of their failures. The country has been passing through the worst dengue situation. This situation has emerged due to lack of accountability of the mayors.”

Ishraque Hossain further said, “The mayoral post is an extremely important and responsible post. Currently the people who are sitting in the post do not reaslise the importance of the post. They have been directing the city corporations’ activities with the mindset of a dictator. Ignoring the advices of experts they are just showing off some activities that are figment of their imaginations. They have failed to recruit sufficient number of entomologists in comparison to the size and number of population in the city corporation areas. They did not even implement the advices of World Health Organisation (WHO).”

In a written statement it was said that the death rate in dengue this year has crossed all the past records. The rate in 2021 was 0.37 and in 2022 it was 0.45. As of 17 July, the rate has increased to 0.55.

Of the dengue infected patients, age of about13,000 are between 18 and 40.

The BNP leaders also slammed the foreign trip of DSCC mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh amid this worsened dengue situation.

They said the mayors are threatening people to fine just to hide their failures. Without any kind of feasibility study they are encouraging people for rooftop gardening. Then again the people are being fined saying that those gardens are hotspots of aedes mosquito. The mayors are holding people accountable to hide their whims, failure and corruption, said the BNP leaders.

Among others, Dhaka city north unit BNP convenor Aman Ullah Aman, south city BNP convener Abdus Salam, north city BNP member secretary Aminul Haque and south city BNP acting member secretary Tanvir Ahmed were present in the press conference.