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Municipal bodies’ duty to start campaign, take regular action to control mosquito menace: HC

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Friday said it is the duty of municipal bodies to initiate campaign and action on daily basis to control the menace of mosquito infestation which leads to vector borne diseases as it cannot be controlled by taking steps during particular months.

The high court said the hotspots in the city which have more mosquito infestation should also be identified by the municipal and local bodies and special efforts be undertaken to deal with the issue in these areas.

It said though vector borne diseases such as malaria, chikungunya and dengue and mosquito infestation rise during the monsoon season, there are other factors which are responsible for the situation including garbage collected at homes, used tyres, utensils and tanks exposed with leftover rainwater.

“It is for the municipal bodies to initiate campaign and take steps on daily basis as the menace cannot be controlled by taking steps during particular months. Similarly, open drains are also a reason for mosquito infestation. Drains should be covered throughout the year and such task cannot be left only for particular months. The task force should also deal with this aspect in the January 21 meeting and form a common protocol,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said.

The high court had on December 24, 2021, directed that each of the local body, including East, South and North MCDs, Delhi Cantonment Board and New Delhi Municipal Council shall set up task forces headed by their commissioners concerned to monitor and control mosquito breeding.

On Friday, it was informed that separate task forces have been constituted at headquarter and zonal levels and first meeting was held on January 4, while the next meeting is scheduled on January 21.

The court also asked member (drainage) and member (water) of the Delhi Jal Board, an officer of the rank of Additional Commissioner of Police and an officer of the rank of Chief Engineer of PWD and CPWD to also attend the task force’s upcoming meeting.

During the hearing, the court observed it was really sad and sorry state of affairs that courts have been dealing with issues like de-silting of drains since 2005 and are still going on.

“What about the promises of 24 hours water at homes which you make before elections? These are lollipops and you are not at all serious about it. You have forgotten all that,” the court told the Delhi government counsel.

It said these pits and water logging on roads troubles the citizens on a daily basis and regular steps be taken to improve the situation.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on February 4.

When the corporations’ counsel Divya Prakash Pande said that separate task forces have been formed at headquarter and zonal levels, the bench said the protocol should include rounds by senior officers and the work cannot be left to inspectors at zonal officers.

“We all know the day a senior officer goes to a site, everything is cleaned and all jobs are done. Do not try to keep senior officers away. You should tell us who will take the responsibility of failure or even success of the task force, so that if it fails, the officers can be held up for contempt. We are more concerned with the headquarters. The responsibility has to be of commissioner also and not only of inspectors at the zonal levels,” the bench said.

The corporations’ counsel said certainly the menace has to be controlled and they have also written to other bodies so that effective measures could be taken.

Advocate Rajat Aneja, who was appointed as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the mosquito matter, including in diseases like dengue, malaria, and chikungunya, submitted that though rainfall has doubled in the last one year, however, the cases of dengue in the city have increased 9 times and the authorities need to take serious steps to control it.

He said he has been made a member of the task force at the headquarter level and responsibility has to be fixed on someone if the task force does not achieve fruitful results.

On the issue of increasing the fine amount from Rs 500 for people who do not keep surroundings clean and allow water to stagnate leading to mosquito breeding, the Delhi government counsel said the proposal has been sent to the Law Department which was asked by the court to take an expeditious decision on it.

The high court had earlier said that people in the national capital continue to suffer due to vector-borne diseases and no corrective measures are taken by the authorities and had directed the local bodies including the three municipal corporations to constitute task forces to monitor and control mosquito infestation in the city.

The high court had earlier taken suo motu cognisance on the issue of menace of large scale mosquito breeding in the capital resulting in vector-borne diseases. PTI SKV SA

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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