The National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to take immediate steps for cleaning and fumigating around 500 abandoned flats in West Delhi's Janakpuri area to fight diseases such as dengue and chikungunya.
The National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to take immediate steps for cleaning and fumigating around 500 abandoned flats in West Delhi’s Janakpuri area to fight diseases such as dengue and chikungunya. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed DDA and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to ensure that there was no health hazard because of water or waste collection in the abandoned flats. “There are nearly 500 DDA flats which have been constructed but are at present lying abandoned and there is collection of water in and around these flats, which causes great health hazards in the area,” the bench noted. The green panel also directed the Delhi Cantonment Board, through its commandant, to ensure that ponds near Jharera Village, close to the cantonment area, were cleaned and fumigated to eliminate mosquitoes.
“We are also informed that animals are permitted to go into these ponds, causing health hazards. Remedial measures in this respect should also be taken by the authorities,” the green body said in a recent order. The direction came after local commissioners appointed by the tribunal pointed out that several spots in the city had become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. They also told the tribunal that there were fountains in different parts of the city which were not being maintained and no precautionary steps were being taken to stop the infestation of mosquitoes.These factors were contributing towards the spread of dengue, chikungunya and other vector-borne diseases, they said.
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The NGT had earlier expressed unhappiness over government buildings such as central Delhi’s Haryana Bhawan turning into mosquito havens, and directed that the complexes be cleaned. The green panel said it was “really a matter of surprise” that such a prominent building as Haryana Bhawan had not been cleaned and was causing a “great health hazard and an adverse impact on the environment”. The NGT had earlier also said steps taken by city authorities to contain the menace of diseases 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 hit out at the Delhi government, civic bodies and other public authorities for making “unbelievable” claims and “vague statements” on 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 the people with good health and a safe environment. 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 wanted authorities to be directed not to undertake outdoor thermal fogging to control dengue, alleging it caused air pollution.