“We will have to wait for mosquitoes to give us data,” an irked Delhi High Court said today when civic bodies failed to provide the number of houses inspected to check the spread of dengue and chikungunya in the national capital.
The menace of chikungunya and dengue should be fought on a “war-footing”, the court said while asking the Director of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), run by the Centre, to provide an action plan by July 12.
Dissatisfied over steps taken by the agencies and the Delhi government, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said, “Dr P K Sen, who is the Director of the programme, to place a comprehensive action plan from all angles, so that vector-borne diseases like chikungunya and dengue are minimised and then eliminated.”
The court was anguished when the counsel for the trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) could not give the figure of houses inspected till May 24 in the national capital and observed: “We will have to wait for the mosquitoes to give us such data.”
NVBDCP is the central nodal agency for prevention and control of vector borne diseases like Malaria, Dengue, Lymphatic Filariasis, Kala-azar, Japanese Encephalitis and Chikungunya in India. It is a technical department of the Directorate General of Health Services.
The direction to NVBDCP for providing the action plan to curb and eliminate the vector-borne diseases was issued after the court expressed dissatisfaction over the steps taken by various agencies and asked which was the experts’ body capable of handling the situation.
The court observed that despite its direction, the authorities have not yet come up with a comprehensive plan to tackle the issue and as they are still inspecting houses, a task which will not be over by even next year.
“The problem needs to be examined in a holistic manner and on war-footing so that the same do not occur next year,” the bench said.
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Dealing with tardy and unclear aspect of house inspection, the bench said “if this is the situation, we will do everything that we have to get for the citizens of Delhi. We will get it done. If not for this year, at least for the next year.”
“We cannot wait for another disease like yellow fever to arrive in India,” it said while asking the local authorities to also place their action plans by May 30.
The court said already 90 cases of chikungunya and 36 cases of dengue have been reported so far this year and that too, when humidity level was yet to rise and monsoon yet to arrive.
As many as 4,431 cases of dengue were reported till the end of 2016 in Delhi, according to a report of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation which tabulates the data on behalf of all the three municipal corporations in the city.
The bench was hearing two PILs seeking directions to the authorities to take steps to stop the outbreak of these and other diseases in the national capital.