Acting tough on the owners of residential buildings that fail to control breeding of mosquitoes in their premises, the Greater Chennai Corporation has decided to impose stiffer penalties on them. However, sources said, the move to levy fine would not stand in a court of law, as it requires an amendment to the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act.
The owners would be served notice for the first offence, and then impose the cash penalty if they fail to control mosquito breeding. According to Corporation data, as many as 50 dengue cases were reported in the city in August.
Presently, the civic body is levying a fine of Rs 25,000 for government and private hospitals with less than 50 beds, and Rs 1 lakh for those with more than 50 beds. But for the third offence, the fine would be Rs 2 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively.
In the upcoming revision, penalties would be increased for the hospitals and construction sites. “Hospitals are the dangerous zones, so we are going to hike penalty. As far as the residential buildings are concerned, we will increase the penalty for gated communities and decrease the penalty for independent and small houses. An order pertaining to the new penalty will be released after Commissioner’s approval,” he added.
Officials have so far collected Rs 5.44 lakh from construction sites in August during mosquito control drives. The Corporation has already identified 12,096 vacant plots, 6,917 locked houses and 7,722 construction sites that pose a bigger threat of mosquito breeding, and conducted cleaning work.
However, sources said this does not have any backing from the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act or Tamil Nadu Public Health Act (TNPH Act). What is being collected is only the vector control charges from the building owners based on the size of the building and number of workers deployed to clear it.
“Corporation should adopt a resolution to amend the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act in a way to include to impose the penalty. Till then, mere circulars would not stand in a court of law. As per TNPH Act, we can only file a charge sheet and it is the judiciary that has the power to impose the penalty,” sources explained.
Fever death in Minjur triggers panic
The death of a six-year-old girl in Minjur who was suffering from fever triggered panic among locals after rumours spread that the child could have died of dengue. The child, Muthammal, lived in Irulur Colony, Kadampakkam panchayat, and her father Rajendran (38) is a fisherman. Revenue officials said that the child had been unwell for more than a week and was taken to a Primary Health Centre in Minjur. “The doctors who examined her suggested that the child be shifted to the government hospital in Ponneri as her condition was critical. But, she died on her way to the GH,” a district official said. The officials have not ruled out dengue or any other vector-borne diseases.