Also asks for committee to take time-bound action

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here seeking a direction to the State government to pay adequate compensation to family members of those who had died due to mysterious fever and dengue in Madurai district.

The petitioner, B. Stalin of Melur taluk, also sought for a direction to the State to form a committee of independent experts to suggest effective measures, including a time-bound action plan, for tackling dengue on a war-footing. The other pleas of the litigant were to issue interim directions to the Collector and Corporation Commissioner to place on record the number of cattle or pig sheds within their jurisdiction and the steps taken by them to clear litter from roadsides in order to prevent air-borne diseases.

He also wanted the court to direct the Dean of Government Rajaji Hospital here and the Chief Medical Officer of a Government Hospital at Melur to explain steps taken by them to maintain hygienic conditions in the two hospitals and the mode adopted by them for disposal of biomedical waste.

The last of the many pleas sought for by the petitioner included a direction to the State government to distribute pamphlets and install hoardings in prominent places to create awareness among the people of the possible causes of dengue and measures they should take to prevent it.

The litigant relied upon news reports and photographs published in the newspapers to claim that many localities across the district were in a very unhygienic condition with stray pigs roaming around heaps of garbage and sewage water flowing freely on the roadside.

He pointed out that even a special ward created for dengue patients at the Melur government hospital was not being maintained well. “The photographs of the ward published in the newspapers are shocking…The whole place is full of garbage, big pot holes and logged water,” he said.

Stating that children between the age group of one and 15 comprised a majority of the victims of dengue, the petitioner said that it was due to the lethargic and negligent attitude of the civic authorities. He also said that there was no sufficient blood plasma available with the government hospitals to be administered to dengue patients.

“There are a number of guidelines and warnings issued by the World Health Organisation regarding the existence, spread and control of dengue epidemic. Yet, every time an outbreak of dengue occurs in any part of the country, the administration is caught unawares and exhibits an indifferent attitude,” he said and stressed that only the court must come to the rescue of victims.