New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party government on Thursday told Delhi High Court it has released around Rs 60 crore to the three municipal corporations in the city under various sanitation schemes to combat the threat of dengue and other vector borne diseases (VBDs).
The Delhi government told a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath that the amount released forms 75 per cent of the total budget allocation of Rs 81.52 crore under the schemes.
Advocate Arpit Bhargava, who filed one of the three PILs seeking directions to the city government to take steps to combat dengue, said the funds were released only after 23 people, including children, died due to the disease and asked why the government waited till now to take the step.
He alleged that most of the steps that the Delhi government claimed in its affidavit to have taken, came after the PILs were filed.
To this, the bench said "right now the need of the hour is to see ahead rather than thinking and complaining about the past" and listed the matter for further hearing September 29.
It directed the corporations to file comprehensive affidavits on steps taken by them to combat dengue before the next date and asked the petitioners, including law student Gauri Grover and senior Congress leader Ajay Maken, to give any suggestions that they might have.
The Directorate of Health Services of Delhi government in its affidavit has said the issue of sanitation is "integrally connected" to prevent VBDs and that is why it has released the funds under the schemes for maintaining cleanliness.
It said the first installment of grant-in-aid amounting to 25 per cent of the total funds were allocated to the three corporations on September 17.
The second installment was to be released after receiving utilisation certificates from the MCDs with regard to unspent balance of previous financial year under the 'Malaria and Dengue Control Programme'.
Even though the certificates were not received from East and North MCDs, government released the second installments to them and the SDMC, "considering the grave crisis and emergent situation posed by the rising cases of dengue," Delhi government's lawyer, Rahul Mehra, said.