Delhi High Court files suo motu PIL on mosquito menace in city
The Delhi high court on Monday initiated a public interest litigation (PIL) on the mosquito menace in the national capital said if not contained, vector borne diseases would add to the existing problems and complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The observations came even as the three civic bodies in the national capital are gearing up to conduct mega drives this week to ensure vector control -- nearly 1,700 municipal staff of the north and east corproations will be engaged in the exercises of fogging and spray of anti-larva medicines, while south corporation will launch a separate drive in its area.
However, a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh noted that on account of the current pandemic, steps to control the mosquito menace have taken a back seat.
“We are inclined to take suo motu cognisance of the mosquito infestation which has taken place in Delhi. On account of the current pandemic, steps to contain such infestation have taken a back seat. Every year, during and after the monsoon months, the city sees vector borne diseases such as dengue and chikungunya, and if this is not contained, with the growing Covid pandemic, the rise of such diseases would lead to and add to the problem and complexities (of Covid),” the bench said.
It issued notices to the Delhi government, the three municipal corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB) seeking to know the steps taken by them or planned to be undertaken by them to contain the mosquito infestation. A
Asking the civic authorities to “pull up their socks”, the court said, “The mosquito situation is very bad... With the onset of monsoon, and looking at the pandemic, we will land in major problems.”
“If people get dengue or something and they need to be hospitalised in Covid times, it will multiply the problem very badly,” it added, while directing the authorities to file their responses by Thursday.
Meanwhile, the north civic body has also identified over 170 sites, which are prone to water accumulation and fit for mosquito breeding.
“We have identified more than 170 places, which are prone to mosquito breeding. Intensive fumigation and anti-larva medicine spraying will be conducted at these locations and other places as well. Our domestic breeding checkers (DBCs) are already inspecting households for mosquito breeding. We will ensure that vector borne diseases do not hit the capital this year,” Jai Prakash, mayor, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, said.
He said he has also written to the public works department (PWD) and other road owning agencies to keep their drains and roads clean to ensure no waterlogging takes place during monsoon.
According to data provided by civic bodies, 25 cases of dengue have been reported till May 22 this year while only 18 cases were reported during the same period in 2020. Similarly, the capital has reported only four cases of chikungunya till May 22, 2021, while 10 cases of chikungunya were reported during the same period last year. Till May 22, 2021, Delhi has reported eight cases of malaria while the number was 18 during the same period last year. The total number of dengue cases in 2020 was 1,072 while it was 2,036 in 2019. There is no figure available for the current year.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) said it is already carrying out fumigation exercises and has issued over 1,800 fines to owners of properties where mosquito breeding was found.
A senior official of the SDMC said, on condition of anonymity, “The department has sent nearly five lakh awareness text messages. We have appealed to people to control mosquito breeding in and around their houses by cleaning their water coolers every week. The civic body has also issued nearly 1,800 legal notices and fines against households and commercial units for mosquito breeding on their premises.”
Nirmal Jain, mayor, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC). said the civic body will soon begin spraying of anti-larva medicine at locations where water usually accumulates. “We are making efforts to control mosquito breeding. Our staff is engaged in Covid duty as well, so, from this week, will start dedicated drives to control mosquito breeding,” he said.