LAHORE – Stressing that saving human life is more important than celebrating Eid, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has directed the officials concerned to be alert to control possible outbreak of dengue on Eid days.

“Eid celebrations can be enhanced by serving the masses,” the chief minister said while presiding over a meeting of the Cabinet Committee for Eradication of Dengue on Saturday. He said arrangements to control possible outbreak of dengue had been finalised.

The measures include emergency response committees, which would remain active during Eid days, said Shahbaz, adding that the attendance of the committee staff must be ensured at all costs and violators would face the music. He said that effective eradication of dengue mosquito is possible through elimination of its larvae thus in case of finding dengue larvae, the place must be protected by adopting preventive measures.

He warned against negligence, saying that negligence on the part of official in carrying out spray and fogging in sensitive areas would not be tolerated. The chief minister ordered immediate suspension of Gulberg TMO and other staff for negligence in checking of under-construction plazas. He said after the experience of previous year, there was no room for such a mistake.

Issuing directives to make cleanliness arrangements in private schools, he said the schools, which had failed to take anti-dengue steps, should be sealed. The chief minister directed the industries secretary to ensure anti-dengue arrangements in the factories across the province because of dengue danger in industrial units.

He stressed the need for public cooperation with the government to control the disease, saying that cooperation of the people for coping with such a situation was important thus an awareness campaign should be launched. Shahbaz said publicity campaign for eradication of dengue through billboards, banners and flexes on prominent places be launched. He directed immediate disposal of rainwater accumulated in low-lying areas be ensured and proper treatment with chemical be arranged so that larvae could not breed.

Taking notice of reports about presence of dengue larvae in the Lahore Railway Colony, he ordered officials concerned to adopt adequate measure to control the situation. He also issued orders for immediate drying up of water at all fountains. Moreover the CM said swimming pools should be made dengue-free. Shahbaz said that warehouses would be constructed for anti-dengue equipments in big cities within two months while the process of imparting training to volunteers for controlling the likely outbreak of dengue should be accelerated.

Medical expert Dr Faisal Masood informed the meeting that situation was better than that of the previous year. He said the previous year, hundreds of people were affected due to dengue whereas due to preventive arrangements, the situation was under control this year.  Education Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Adviser Salman Rafique, additional chief secretary, secretaries, Lahore commissioner, DCO, LDA DG, experts and other officials attended the meeting.