Mumbaikars, you may be arrested for spreading dengue

The BMC has found dengue mosquito breeding grounds in around 13,000 residences and offices in the city, and the civic body has now begun issuing notices threatening citizens with arrests unless they take action

The BMC seems to be fighting a losing battle with dengue, with over 350 cases recorded over a period of two months. To make matters worse, the civic body has discovered around 13,000 residences and commercial and office spaces that are aiding the further spread of the disease by not taking adequate precautions.

The BMC has been conducting fumigation drives and surprise checks throughout the city, but still seems to be struggling with the dengue threat. File pic
The BMC has been conducting fumigation drives and surprise checks throughout the city, but still seems to be struggling with the dengue threat. File pic

But the BMC has now come up with an answer of its own it has issued 13,000 notices to all the offending citizens, threatening them with arrests if they do not take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. At each of the spots, the corporation discovered breeding grounds for the aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the dengue virus.

This includes tarpaulin sheets that are used in homes and slum dwellings alike, and are known as mosquito breeding spots. Health officials have said that while most citizens have complied with necessary requirement to curb the disease, those who do not do so in time, will be arrested, as it is a public nuisance putting the lives of others in danger.

While it is common knowledge that arrests are not within the BMC’s purview, if the municipal commissioner complains to the police on the basis of sections 381 (A) and (B) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, the BMC can even recommend to the police that the culprit be arrested.

The civic body will need the police’s cooperation, but under the argument that the offender is committing a negligent act endangering the life of others, it can be registered as a cognizable and bailable offence with the punishment of Rs 500 or two years of imprisonment.

The BMC is also focusing on awareness programmes and has started making announcements via various mediums of publicity, such as the radio, television, flyers, posters, etc. Dr Suhasini Nagda, medical Health services director, said, “Our awareness drives have started and there are regular jingles on the radio and TV, and we are also educating residents of slum areas.

We are also conducting surprise inspections, and if breeding is found, we will issue notices to such citizens. If they do not comply, we will arrest such owners for public nuisance through the police. We will intimate the police under sections 381 (A) (B) of the MMC act.”

Advocate Gyanmurti Sharma, who is the chairman of the BMC’s Law Committee and is also a BJP corporator, said, “Yes, such arrests are possible, as the sections 381 (A) and (B) give powers to the commissioner to persuade the police in the matter and cops can book people under IPC sections 269 and 270 for spreading diseases and endangering the lives of others.”

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