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'How were the funds used'

The court expressed its dissatisfaction with the reports submitted by the authorities, reports Vibha Sharma.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2006 04:43 IST

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi government might claim to have done everything possible to prevent the dengue outbreak, but the Delhi High Court is not impressed.

On Tuesday, the court expressed its dissatisfaction with the reports submitted by the authorities listing the measures they had taken to fight the spread of dengue in the city. The court has directed both the authorities to file "better affidavits".

A Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kailash Gambhir criticized the use of funds meant for the anti-dengue programme.

"During the hearing, the court asked the government to give a detailed account of how the funds have been used till now. The court was surprised to learn that though a special budget is earmarked to deal with the disease, no concrete preventive steps were visible were on the ground," said counsel Rajeev Awasthi, who has filed a petition in this regard.

"What have you done to check dengue disease prior to its spread since August?" the Bench asked Delhi Government counsel JR Midda on Tuesday.

The court has fixed November 3 as the next date of hearing.

On October 6, the court had asked the Centre, Delhi Government and the MCD to explain the steps taken to check the spread of dengue, which has so far claimed 40 lives in Delhi.

It had squarely blamed the authorities for the outbreak saying that the crisis could have been avoided if timely preventive measures had been initiated.

The court had pulled up the authorities for completely ignoring the guidelines mentioned in the 1996 Dengue Prevention Programme.

Given that dengue has been striking the capital almost every year in the last decade, civic authorities and health officials should have been better prepared, the court had said.

"Preventive measures have been launched only after deaths were reported… This is a seasonal disease and therefore there is no unpredictability. Even then it is as if you are caught unawares," the court had then observed.

First Published: Oct 18, 2006 04:43 IST