Kolkata, Feb 27: Over the years, dengue has gone viral across India, literally. Delhi and Maharashtra are not alone in their fight against the dengue menace. The mosquito-borne infection that sickens and sometimes kills, has spread its tentacles in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
According to statistics, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have accounted for more than half of India's 87,018 confirmed dengue cases and 151 deaths till October 15 last year.
In 2017, Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal, saw protests over dengue-related deaths. Dengue became such a menace that chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the state health minister portfolio, felt threatened as protesters and opposition parties questioned her power to 'control mosquitoes'.
Figures state that last year until October, West Bengal registered 5,389 dengue cases. A total of 13 people died due to dengue in the eastern state.
In order to fight the dengue battle, CM Banerjee does not have to look far. In fact, in her home state, in Siliguri (which is around 550 km away from Kolkata, the power centre of West Bengal), a student has invented a drone with the aim to wipe out the dengue problem.
The drone can take pictures of stagnant water (the hotbed for mosquitoes to breed), especially on the terraces of high rise buildings, which generally go unchecked. Rajiv Ghosh, the Siliguri boy who invented the drone, told ANI that dengue problem in his city is the reason behind his latest innovation.
"Last year, there was a major dengue problem in Siliguri. It is very difficult to inspect the presence of stagnant water or dengue larvae in high rise buildings. A drone can help gather aerial footage to keep a check on areas that might be possible breeding spots," Rajiv added.
Last year, there was a major Dengue problem in Siliguri. It is very difficult to inspect presence of stagnant water or dengue larvae in high rise buildings. Drone can help gather aerial footage to keep a check on areas that might be possible breeding spots: Rajiv Ghosh, student pic.twitter.com/jXz3sI4vWk— ANI (@ANI) February 26, 2018
Impressed by Rajiv's innovation, the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) has decided to use the student's drone to inspect mosquito-infested localities of the city. The drone is being used on a trial basis for a month to check how fruitful the technology would be to fight the dengue menace in Siliguri.
Asoke Bhattacharya, SMC Mayor, told ANI that the local body was conducting a trial run to detect stagnant water with the help of drone for a month. "Will see how fruitful it is," he added.
#WestBengal: Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) introduced use of drones made by a school student to inspect mosquito infested areas. Asok Bhattacharya, SMC Mayor says 'Conducting trial run for a month. Will see how fruitful it is.'' (25.02.18) pic.twitter.com/ycedwQ6cOV— ANI (@ANI) February 26, 2018
Last year, Siliguri saw 1,287 cases of dengue and four people died due to the killer disease. Rajiv's innovation seems to have already impressed a lot of people. The SMC Mayor said that he has been receiving queries from other states about the effectiveness of the use of a drone to fight dengue.
If the trial run of drone proves successful in Siliguri, CM Banerjee could easily adopt the same technology to fight mosquitoes across West Bengal and keep her government safe from dissent.