Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Goa's bitter bites of malaria

The malaria disease seems to be following Goa like a dirty smell. The major cause of the spread of the disease as is well known, is attributed to the construction industry and their lackadaisical attitude in enforcing proper healthy working conditions to prevent the spread of the disease.

The state government , through the public health act, has fined various construction firms for flouting health norms at construction sites and the fine malaria mosquitocollected this year alone, has been to the tune of 7.06 lakh which is a bit more than last year. This amply proves that the construction industry and its promoters in Goa have scant respect for health as prescribed by the provisions of the Goa Public Health Act.

This year Candolim and Siolim have been the major areas of concern for such flouting of regulations. The reliance of the Goan construction industry , over migrant labour is considered to be the main reason of the high vector borne diseases affecting Goa, out of which Malaria tops the list. 85 % of the affected people have been found to be migrant labour as per latest estimates.

As per the Goa Public health Act, it is mandatory for the construction houses to undegoa construction sitertake regular anti-larval measures as construction sites are highly capable of turning into breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The health officer is also empowered under the act to levy a fine of Rs 1000/- per head in the event of a migrant labourer being caught without a health card. Also he has powers to impose a fine of Rs 500 per day if sanitation nuisance is found at the construction site.

The construction firms are required to provide complete santitation facilites at site to their labourers. However such a practice is not being adhered to and therefore the number of malaria cases are continuosly on the rise in Goa.

The government should therefore arrange to enforce stricter rules against the construction lobby for their failure to maintain sanitation and follow the regulations prescribed. It is imperative that the authorities are absolutely strict in enforcing the laws as malaria, besides being a killer disease is also a big worry for tourists visiting Goa and many a tourist decides against visiting Goa, due to the risk of contracting malaria. This is evident from the various online forums on Goa and the kind of apprehensions that tourists carry about visiting Goa with the risk of malaria haunting their decision.

The Government should therefore use all means at its disposal to eradicate this menace from Goa and explore cancellation of the construction plans of the builder to force them into complete compliance of the regulations. Else the common man in Goa shall be constantly under threat and worry besides the tourism industry being affected subtly but surely.
Xittuk Goencar

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