With the rapid increase in the number of dengue cases in the national capital civic authorities are considering more strict measures to check the menace, including prosecuting people who cause mosquitoes to breed at their homes.
N.K. Yadav, deputy municipal health officer of Delhi said, "Last week, 66 dengue cases were reported of which six proved to be fatal. We have received strict instructions from the health ministry and surveillance work has been heightened."
He added, "If the condition becomes critical, we will invoke section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to orders promulgated by public servants) and people will be prosecuted for creating conditions favourable for mosquito breeding. In emergency situations, the provision can put residents behind bars for months."
So far, of the 66 cases reported between Sep 3 and 10, 43 are residents of Delhi while the rest are visitors. 136 cases of dengue have already been reported this year. Dengue virus is transmitted through the bite of female Aedes mosquitoes, primarily Aedes Aegypti.
Yadav said, "Last time the section was invoked in 1997 and a number of people were prosecuted."
On Tuesday Delhi Health Minister Yoganand Shastri instructed civic authorities to take stern action against offenders whose premises were found to be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Shastri stated that police cases would be registered against those people. In addition city schools have been relegated the role of creating awareness about the diseases during their prayer sessions.
Civic officials have reported that over 1,300 health workers are now working to inspect residences and advise people not to allow water to stagnate.
Already legal notices have been sent to more than 29,000 households and nearly 13,000 have been fined.