Why HC has to point out ways all the time?

Shahnoor Wahid

When a bus runs over a person and as a result the victim loses a leg or an arm, there is no authority but the High Court to tell the bus owners to pay compensation to the victim’s family. In many similar cases we have seen that High Court had to intervene successfully on behalf of the victims for a settlement.

In the latest development, health experts and citizens in general are pointing fingers at the two city corporations for the spread of dengue. A research by ICDDR,B says that the insecticide used by the city corporations all these years has been found to be not effective in killing mosquitoes or its larva. This has come as a shock to the people as they have had faith on the corporations for taking care of their health and environment. As hundreds of new cases started to report in hospitals across the country on a regular basis, panicky guardians started to blame the city corporations for their utter negligence and corruption in this regard.

The enormity of the situation has prompted High Court once again to take the initiative, and it asked the two city corporations to import high quality insecticides to kill mosquitoes. Why the city corporations will have to import the chemicals? Is it a normal practice? No. It is only because the syndicate of only two registered importers have been importing low quality insecticides all these years thus earning crores at the cost of our blood, literally speaking.

The unknown two companies have been importing low quality insecticides for years together which remained ineffective in killing mosquitoes, and yet, to our utter surprise, no one in the two corporations ever raised an alarm or brought the matter to the notice of the mayors. Thus it becomes obvious that the unscrupulous importers have been keeping the mouths of all officials below the mayor shut with ill-gotten money.

This is indeed comical that now the relevant authorities will have to issue an import licence to both DNCC and DSCC so that they can open L/C and import better quality chemicals to kill mosquito and its larva. This means the insecticide brought and supplied by the two companies in useless. So, will the owners of the two companies return the money for the trash they had supplied?

The matter has been discussed thoroughly in the court of Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Shohrowardi following a daylong hearing. The Ministry of Health, the Directorate General of Health Services and the Local Government Division were told to provide all assistance to the city corporations, including issuance of licences, and clearance with regard to import of insecticide.

On Jul 25, the High Court made a query on the time needed to import good quality insecticides. But so far the city corporations have not given any specific answers to that. Once again, the court ordered the authority on Tuesday to inform it the expected deadline for import of the effective insecticide by Thursday. Both the city corporations and the government were asked to submit an affidavit to the court on the matter. The city corporations informed the court that the state is responsible for insecticide imports but they are supposed to spray it.

One health department report says that prevalence of dengue may escalate in August and September. Accordingly, HC asked the government to confirm if importing insecticides through G2G deals is possible, and the court will issue an order on it. It is learnt that the Dhaka North City Corporation has informed the court that they had ordered for samples of mosquito insecticides but it would take at least two weeks to get clearance to use these following tests considering different issues, including environmental risks.