Mosquito swatters procured, Collector informs High Court

The 420 village panchayats in the district and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) had procured a total of 5,692 re-chargeable electric mosquito swatters (in the shape of tennis racquets) as a special initiative for tackling the outbreak of dengue, Collector Anshul Mishra informed the Madras High Court Bench here on Friday.

In a communication addressed to Special Government Pleader M. Govindan, he said that 385 electric swatters were purchased from the Collector’s discretionary fund. A copy of the communication was placed before a Division Bench of Justice K. N. Basha and Justice P. Devadass who were seized of a public interest litigation petition filed by B. Stalin, a lawyer.

The petitioner had sought for a direction to the State Government to pay adequate compensation for the families of those who had died due to dengue as well as mysterious fever. He also wanted the State to take steps on a war footing basis for preventing the spread of the endemic and creating awareness among the people about the precautionary measures that they could take. Concurring with the petitioner that effective and speedy measures must be taken by the officials concerned to curtail the menace, the judges recorded the Collector’s other statements that five wards in Melur Municipality, the entire Melur Block (rural), Thirupparankundram Block and Madurai East Block were identified as hot spots in the district with respect to the spread of dengue.

A revenue official in the cadre of Revenue Inspector or Deputy Tahsildar had been appointed to each of the revenue village and the most affected ward of the municipal area to supervise and coordinate with the Public Health Department and the local bodies for carrying out source reduction, anti-larval and fogging activities in their respective localities.

Apart from these officials, three zonal officers in the cadre of Deputy Collector and local officers were also appointed for each block and they were instructed to coordinate with the revenue officials, Block Medical Officer and Block Development Officer (BDO). Further, all the BDOs were given suitable instruction to procure adequate number of fogging machines.

Special medical camps were also organised in the affected areas, the Collector said and listed out that so far 25 Siddha camps, eight Homeopathy camps and 44 Allopathy camps had been conducted. Steps were taken to let out 63,000 larvivorous in the water bodies at Melur, Thirupparankundram, Madurai East and Usilampatti Blocks. A mass cleaning programme was also organised in all village panchayats on November 20, he added. Appreciating the efforts taken by the Collector, the Division Bench suggested that the district administration should give top priority to creating awareness among the people about the precautionary steps to be taken by them through distribution of pamphlets.

The Bench also said that the medical camps could be organised on a day-to-day basis and made to function round the clock until restoration of normalcy. The judges also stressed that a special dengue ward already created at GRH must be maintained in a hygienic condition.

On the petitioner’s claim that a special ward in the Melur government hospital was in a very bad condition, the judges said that it was for the Collector to take immediate steps to rectify the defects. Later, the matter was adjourned by three weeks in order to enable the Collector to file a comprehensive report .