Alappuzha’s fumigation move draws flak

Alappuzha MLA-designate P.P. Chitharanjan and his family members taking part in the 'Dhooma Sandhya' campaign of the Alappuzha municipality on Saturday  

The Alappuzha municipality has come under criticism for its suggestion to use ‘Aparajitha dhooma choornam’ (powder made of ayurvedic ingredients) for fumigation to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

Under the civic body’s call a large number of households in the municipal area observed ‘Dhooma Sandhya’ at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday by fumigating the house and surroundings with smoke generated from burning ‘Aparajitha dhooma choornam.’ The municipality had earlier distributed packets of the powder to residents free of cost.

In one of the notices promoting the event, the civic body urged the people to participate in the disinfection activity as part of COVID-19 prevention measures.

“Aparajitha dhooma choornam’ could prevent all airborne infectious diseases. It is antibacterial and antiviral,” the notice reads.

The Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) Alappuzha district committee has deplored the civic body's decision to conduct ‘Dhooma Sandhya.’ In a statement issued here on Saturday, KSSP district president B. Krishnakumar and district secretary Jayan Champakulam termed it unscientific.

“The World Health Organisation or Indian Council of Medical Research have not found these kinds of methods to be useful in preventing COVID-19 or other infectious diseases. The Local Self Government Department has not issued an order for conducting the programme or spent money for it. COVID-19 second wave should be dealt with utmost caution and seriousness. At a time when people should be asked to follow COVID-19 protocols without any laxity, it is shocking that a municipality is promoting the use of ‘Aparajitha dhooma choornam’ and homoeo medicines to tackle the pandemic,” they said.

The actions of the civic body will create misconceptions among people about achieving immunity and they will stop following COVID-19 protocols and restrictions. It will result in a spike in COVID-19 cases in the municipal area, the KSSP warned. The KSSP has written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other officials concerned seeking their intervention to prevent the municipality from undertaking such measures.

The Campaign Against Pseudo Science Using Law and Ethics (CAPSULE) has also come out against the Alappuzha municipality. It urged the civic body to restrain itself from unscientific activities.

Alappuzha municipal chairperson Soumya Raj, however, justified the decision to conduct ‘Dhooma Sandhya.’

Awareness campaign

“Basically it is an awareness campaign and a show of oneness. We have never said the powder is capable of eliminating coronavirus or will help end the pandemic. The fumigation is part of the disinfection exercise, which is being done from time to time. Through the campaign we are also urging the people to abide by the disease containment measures and lockdown,” Ms. Raj said, adding that the municipality was promoting allopathy, ayurveda, and homoeopathy on an equal basis.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 7:30:49 AM |

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