Slamming the two city corporations in Dhaka for their failure to combat the mosquito menace, the High Court yesterday said the dengue situation in the capital is nothing short of an epidemic.
The HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader said 21 to 22 people, including children, have reportedly died and hundreds fallen victim to dengue fever.
Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation could not take necessary steps even after the HC passed orders to that end.
The HC bench made the remarks while hearing a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, a rights organisation.
Without mentioning DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon’s name, the bench criticised him for his remark on the issue.
On July 9, Khokon said the insecticide they were using to kill the mosquitoes was “slightly less effective than promised”. This was the reason why dengue outbreak was “relatively higher” this time, he added.
About the comment, the court asked, “How can a mayor make such an observation when so many people died and fell victim to the mosquito menace?”
A budget is allocated from the taxpayers’ money every year to prevent mosquitoes but there is no visible result, the court observed.
The authorities used to spray medicine from plane earlier, but that is no longer evident, it added.
Nurunnahar Akter, lawyer for both DNCC and DSCC, said her clients did everything to prevent the menace.
Fresh tenders have already been floated by both the city corporations to import effective medicines for preventing mosquitoes. The process will take around six months to finish, she said.
The lawyer added that she felt bad hearing the news of so many deaths for dengue fever.
She also mentioned the awareness programmes undertaken by her clients to stop mosquito breeding and prevent dengue menace.
In response, the court said corrupt people did not feel bad as their children live abroad and not affected by dengue fever.
“Only the parents who lose their children because of dengue can feel the pain,” the court added.
At the hearing, Manzill Murshid, lawyer for the petitioner, told the court that the medicines used to prevent the mosquitoes breeding were ineffective.
Around Tk 20 to Tk 22 crore is allocated for this purpose, but most of it is misappropriated due to corruption, he added.
Meanwhile, the court directed the authorities of DNCC and DSCC to take action against those involved in corruption while purchasing ineffective medicines.
Also, the court ordered the authorities to conduct an enquiry into the mischief and submit separate reports by August 20.
On July 2, the HC bench directed the two city corporations to take effective steps to prevent mosquito menace and control the alarming spread of dengue fever while hearing a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, a rights organisation.