New Delhi; Chikungunya and dengue have taken dozens of lives in the national capital. While the number of deaths from chikungunya, dengue and malaria are being projected to be low here by government officials, reports suggest that many more people are affected by the vector born diseases than what government records show.
Hospitals are overflowing with patients suffering from chikungunya, dengue and even malaria. All the claims of eradication of malaria have come to a naught and many cases of malaria too are being reported from across the capital.
Nonetheless, the two major causes of worry and fear for citizens here are chikungunya and dengue. Several thousand people have already been affected by it and dozens of people have lost their lives to these two forms of fever.
After initial denials about the deaths due to the two fearsome forms of fever, the government is being forced to act. The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Delhi’s Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung to convene on Wednesday a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the civic bodies to discuss ways and means to deal with the spread of chikungunya and dengue. Asking Jung to hold the meeting at 2 p.m., Justice Madan Lokur and Justice L. Nagaswara Rao asked participants at the meeting to refrain from engaging in any blame-game.
Delhi’s Lt. Governor and the chief minister Kejriwal seem to be at loggerhead with each other. Pointing out that the “interests of the people of Delhi are paramount”, the court said: “In our opinion, considering that a large number of people are affected by dengue and chikungunya, it would be appropriate if a meeting is convened by (Jung) tomorrow.” The court said the participants should resolve issues relating to the “better management of the problems” faced by the people due to dengue and chikungunya and other issues.
A sort of blame game seems to be taking place amidst the health crisis in the metropolis. Taking exception to the paragraph where Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain blamed the Health Secretary, Justice Lokur said: “All that you have done is to blame everybody. Please don’t make a virtue out of misery. (Is it that the) Health Minister is not responsible for anything?” The court refused to take note of Jain’s comments on the Health Secretary. The bench repeatedly asked senior counsel C.U. Singh, who appeared for the Delhi government, about the five steps the Delhi government proposes to take to address the situation.
The court’s decision has come at the right time. Addressing the court on the ground situation and describing the situation as “very serious”, amicus curiae Colin Gonsalves told the bench that both the sides (the Centre and Delhi government) will have to sit together to deal with the prevailing situation. “It needs introspection by both the sides. Why such an epidemic situation was not preventable. Why it happened on the scale it happened. Who is responsible for it,” Gonsalves said. “Clearing of garbage is an important issue. Just clean the city. Figures are very alarming.” Referring to the figures given in Delhi government’s affidavit, Gonsalves said, “They are in no way anywhere near the truth. People don’t go for treatment. They don’t have money to pay for (pathological) tests.” People are praying that the politicians and bureaucrats can be forced into action by the apex court.