It now transpires that the top officials of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) were aware that a tragedy was waiting to happen in Laxmi Nagar in Lalapet in Secunderabad. Yet for reasons best known to them, they decided to turn a blind eye.
Dr M Vivekananda Swamy, a physician who is a resident of Laxmi Nagar, is extremely upset because despite writing over a dozen letters to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), pointing out the terrible sanitation conditions in the locality, the authorities did nothing.
“If they had done so, we would not have lost Ruthvika. Would the GHMC behave like this if the represenations had come from a VIP area. Don’t we pay taxes,” asks an angry Dr Vivek, who is the neighbour of the UKG student who succumbed to dengue on Wednesday.
Except for an online acknowledgement of his letters, Dr Vivek did not get a single reply from the top GHMC authorities. And this despite Laxmi Nagar being part of Secunderabad assembly constituency, that is represented by Padma Rao, the Deputy Speaker of the Telangana Assembly. The local corporator A Saraswati also belongs to the ruling TRS. And its MP is the high-profile G Kishan Reddy of the BJP, who is now the Minister of State for Home in the Narendra Modi government.
On Saturday, when Ruthvika, around four and a half years old (in pic), developed fever, she was taken to a local clinic run by a family of doctors. They diagnosed it as viral fever and the fever with paracetamol, reduced a bit the following day. On Monday, the excited child dressed up for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival but soon felt tired and did not show an appetite. On Tuesday, her condition worsened and she was rushed to Navodaya hospital in Secunderabad.
The hospital refused to admit her, saying she is serious and referred her to Rainbow Hospital in Hyderabad. It was there that she was tested for dengue, which turned out positive. But Ruthvika’s platelet count had begun to fall dramatically. In less than 24 hours, the doctors found it impossible to save a very critical Ruthvika.
“We have roughly three dozen cattle grazing in the area (pic below), they defecate and you can imagine what it would lead to. Apart from that, the load on the drainage is very high because the pipelines that were installed are not of the right size. This means drainage is continuously overflowing in our locality. All they need to do is to install an alternate pipeline,” says Dr Vivek.
It took Ruthvika’s death on Wednesday for the GHMC to send its anti-mosquito fogging teams to Laxmi Nagar. The residents can only hope the conscience of the establishment is pricked enough to put corrective measures in place. Not everyone is sure though given the Health minister’s refusal to accept that anyone has died due to dengue in Hyderabad.
“What happened to my little Ruthvika should not happen to anyone else. Only after my daughter died, the government has done a clean-up operation today,” says a grief-stricken Madhusudan Reddy, Ruthvika’s father.
Surely Hyderabad can have more heart than this. Ruthvika’s death is a blot on the city and those who run its administration.