Mosquitoes Sting into Action as Drives Lose Steam - The New Indian Express

Mosquitoes Sting into Action as Drives Lose Steam

Published: 20th January 2014 10:12 AM

Last Updated: 20th January 2014 10:12 AM

That the mosquitoes are growing in strength attests to the fact that the campaigns initiated by the Corporation to eradicate them are a total failure.

Although many initiatives to curb the menace were launched, they died a slow death due to  lack of proper follow-up and apathy of the authorities concerned.

One of the strongest interventions to eradicate the mosquito menace was the judiciary. The Kerala High Court in a 1996 judgment came down heavily on the Corporation for “not taking any tangible action” to combat the ‘mosquito crisis’ “by tackling it on a war footing”. The court did not stop there. It stepped into action to find out ways and means to  “bail the Corporation out of its precarious position in order to protect the health of the citizens”.

Justice Narayana Kurup, who pronounced the judgment, recalls that it was a situation similar to the present one.

“The mosquito menace was raging and the civic body under Mayor Somasundara Panicker was inert. The Court, therefore, mobilised men and materials. A mega-scale fogging was planned and two commissioners were appointed to supervise it. Medicine for fogging was brought from Thoothukudi and about 1,800 sailors of the Southern Naval Command extended their support to volunteers for fogging activities.

I was mocked at from various quarters with statements like the Court has assumed the role of a ‘garbage supervisor’, but I retorted saying that the brunt of that cross is worth bearing,” said Narayana Kurup.

 He said that though the move came to a stop as it got into controversies of judicial overreach the message was much publicised.

Councillor Leno Jacob, who was the opposition leader at that time, counts it only as one of the many failed exercises to curb the mosquito menace.

“The movement reached nowhere. Mobi Verghese, owner of St Mary’s Bankers, came up and donated his vehicles for fogging. Singer Yesudas along with others sprayed few salts into the canals of Kochi, posed for some photo sessions and walked away. The mosquitoes in Kochi have seen so many of such failed campaigns,” said Leno Jacob.

A senior councillor and Town Planning Committee chairman of the Corporation K J Sohan said that the focus should be shifted from fogging to tackling the growth of mosquitoes during the months of October to December.

“Fogging the entire city is neither a practical or a healthy idea, it’s a restricted activity and even WHO has put guidelines on it. The city has canals that are approximately as long as the distance from here to Goa. Their maintenance is cumbersome. More manpower and in turn more money is required to maintain them but the Corporation is facing financial crisis,” said Sohan.

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