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Mosquito menace: Meeting of stakeholders soon, Delhi HC told

The Bench directed all concerned stakeholders, including a “senior and responsible representative” from the Irrigation Department of the State of Uttar Pradesh, to ensure participation in the meeting so that a uniform protocol could be evolved and finalized.

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The Delhi High Court on Friday was informed that to deal with mosquito infestation menace in the national capital, a meeting involving participation of all stakeholders is to be called for finalizing a uniform protocol for controlling the spread of vector-borne diseases in Delhi.

The Division Bench comprising Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh had in May last year taken cognizance of the issue, saying that if timely action is not taken, it could lead to vector-borne diseases which may complicate the existing Covid-19 situation.

The Bench directed all concerned stakeholders, including a “senior and responsible representative” from the Irrigation Department of the State of Uttar Pradesh, to ensure participation in the meeting so that a uniform protocol could be evolved and finalized.

The Bench has asked the local bodies to finalize and fine-tune the protocol and place it on record before the next date of hearing.

In pursuance of earlier order, a status report was filed by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, the nodal body tasked with the responsibility for ensuring that necessary steps are taken for calling meeting(s) and evolving the protocol with consultations, apprising the Court that a draft protocol was evolved in a meeting held between the local bodies and other departments wherein duties and responsibilities have been assigned to various organizations including to those who did not attend the meeting.

Justice Jasmeet Singh questioned as to why was there no common protocol earlier to deal with the issue. “Why is it that a nudge is required to do all these? All these action plan which is now being shown before us, should have been there for ages,” he remarked.

Advocate Satyakam, representing the Delhi Government, submitted that an action plan has always been in place, but there was a lack of intensity to tackle the issue. He added that the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, which comes under the control of Central Government’s Director General of Health Services, also has a role in providing guidance and thereby be called for the meeting, besides other bodies which earlier did not participate.

“Keeping in view the aforesaid, it would be advisable that another meeting is called by the nodal officer with participation of all the departments and agencies to whom roles have been or maybe assigned in the matter of control of vector borne diseases in the NCT of Delhi,” the Bench noted.

The matter will now be taken up on February 25, 2022.

Earlier expressing displeasure over the lackadaisical approach of the local bodies and other departments inasmuch as insufficient steps were being taken by the agencies to deal with the menace of mosquito infestation, the Bench had called for a meeting between the heads of all local bodies to work out a uniform protocol for ensuring that the issue is addressed.

“Looking to the enormity of the problem being faced due to the spread of mosquito borne diseases such as Malaria, Chikungunya and Dengue, which also results in hundreds of deaths in the city every year, it is high time that the issue of mosquito infestation is looked at with greater seriousness by all the local bodies, and a stern message is sent across the city that contravention of the aforesaid bye-laws would be dealt with strictness. The situation of Vector Borne Diseases creating havoc year after year is totally not acceptable to us. The failure of the State to control them leads to serious infraction of the rights of the people under Article 21 of the Constitution. For that purpose, in our view, it is essential that the penalties should be revised substantially, so that they have the requisite impact on the people and they serve as deterrent against contravention of the bye-laws. Such revisions once made should also be adequately publicised,” thus noted the Bench.

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