Telangana High Court warns officials, seeks weekly report on anti-dengue steps

Bench expresses displeasure over authorities’ failure to curb spread of dengue, pulls up senior officers for being negligent in implementing court’s orders
Telangana High Court ( Photo | EPS)
Telangana High Court ( Photo | EPS)

HYDERABAD: Expressing displeasure with the authorities for their failure to curtail the spread of dengue in the state, a division bench of the Telangana High Court on Thursday decided to monitor the issue on a weekly basis. The bench directed the state government to form a high-level committee headed by the chief secretary that would submit reports to the court every Thursday, informing it of the progress on the issue.
The bench pulled up senior officers for being negligent in implementing the court’s orders on preventing the spread of dengue. Referring to the mosquito menace even in the court, the bench asked the chief secretary to take a look at the condition of the adjacent Musi river.

It also warned officials, saying that if there was no change in the situation by the end of November, it would direct the government to pay a compensation of Rs 50 lakh each to the kin of those who succumbed to dengue, and recover Rs 5 lakh of this from the salaries of the officers concerned.

It noted that there was a 500% increase in the number of dengue cases - from 85 in January to 3,809 in September - and warned of issuing contempt notices to officers who do not adhere to the court’s orders. Pursuant to an earlier direction of the court, Chief Secretary SK Joshi, the principal secretary to medical and health, director of public health and family welfare, GHMC commissioner and other officers concerned appeared before the division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy, dealing with a PIL filed by Dr M Karuna complaining of authorities’ inaction in taking steps to prevent dengue, and a PIL taken up suo moto based on a letter to the HC  chief justice from advocate Rapolu Bhaskar. SK Joshi said the government has taken all possible steps to prevent the spread of dengue and other vector-borne diseases. A 30-day programme was taken up in 12,750-gram panchayats in September, and better results would take some time, he said, adding that the code of conduct was in place due to the elections, and the government had to focus more on the polls.

‘Are polls more crucial?’

Chief Secretary SK Joshi said the government had to focus on the polls and the model code of conduct was in place. The court then asked if the govt felt the elections were more important than saving people from dengue, Would the govt’s contention be the same if the state was engulfed with an epidemic,
the high court asked

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