As Delhi continues to battle a spike in chikungunya and dengue cases, Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia has said that in ensuring citizens’ participation in the prevention of diseases, education can achieve what laws can’t. The minister’s five-day official tour to Finland at a time when Delhi reported deaths due to chikungunya complications had triggered a political row.
Even as the AAP government maintained that it was responsibility of the BJP-led municipal corporations to carry out fumigation, it said it has taken up the job so that more people do not suffer.
“I chaired three or four meetings on prevention before I left (for Finland). I made sure there is no shortage of funds. I asked the municipal corporations if they had received funds. Everyone said the funds had been availed. Hospitals in the city were well-prepared. The shortcoming was the lack of intensive fogging that the MCDs should have done. We are doing it now. From next year, we will intervene in a more timely manner. Let’s help each other at such a time… this year, we are doing it because the MCDs have failed. Next year, hopefully, we (AAP) will be in the MCDs also,” said Sisodia.
Earlier this week, Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain had drawn up a ‘fogging map’ for Delhi, to curb the breeding of mosquitoes across the capital.
On creating awareness about prevention of diseases at school-level, Sisodia said, “The answer is education, education and education. Delhi is such a complex city, the way its population has increased and the way it has grown in an unstructured manner, this can never be done through any law. But with education, such things can be done very fast.”
The minister said education needs to take children out of the classroom and make them connect with their surroundings. “I often use this example. In classrooms, we teach the importance of cleanliness by Gandhiji, when the classroom we teach in is covered with dust,” said Sisodia.
“If I was the teacher, I would ask the students to draw up a list of 10 things that are dirty in their locality. Who is causing this filth? They should be taught to identify what is dirty, and that it should not be so. Then we don’t need to teach them a textbook lesson on Gandhiji for them to clean their surroundings. If teachers are given training and opportunities, education can solve these problems,” said Sisodia.
Emphasising the importance of training teachers, he said that schools have to guarantee the creation of responsible citizens.