Rickety old buses lying abandoned at Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) depots here were breeding grounds for mosquitoes, leading to a rise in dengue and chikungunya, the National Green Tribunal has said, directing the DTC to form a task force to tackle the problem. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the DTC to set up the special team and take “appropriate steps” within a week. “We direct the general manager of the DTC to take immediate steps to cover the buses and fumigate them and also ensure that the water which is inside or under the buses is removed forthwith,” it said. The tribunal said buses which were unfit for plying and lying at DTC depots in Indraprastha, Rohini, Keshopur and elsewhere were a breeding ground for mosquitoes. During the rains, water fills up in the buses which leads to mosquito breeding, the bench said on May 29.
The NGT had earlier said vector-borne diseases such as dengue and chikungunya had started spreading in the city and the steps taken by the authorities to contain the menace were a “mere formality”. The bench had then appointed 12 local commissioners to inspect different spots in the city under each municipal corporation and report to it about the problems on the ground. The tribunal had also hit out at the Delhi government, civic bodies and other public authorities for making “unbelievable” claims and “vague statements” regarding steps taken to tackle dengue, chikungunya and other diseases. It had said the right to a clean and decent environment and public health was a fundamental right and financial limitations should not come in the way of providing good health and environment to the people.
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The bench was hearing a petition by a former scientist of the Central Pollution Control Board, Mahendra Pandey, for issuance of directions and setting up of committees to implement “precautionary, preventive and curative actions” to ensure that the residents of Delhi were not exposed to disease. The plea had also sought direction to authorities not to undertake outdoor thermal fogging to control dengue, alleging it was anti-environment and caused air pollution.