means of a centrifugal pump at the rate of 3 million gallons a day. The number of houses
infected in this district was 180, and in all of them the house-connections were thoroughly
overhauled. Where more than one case occurred, the down-take pipes were completely removed,
washed in boiling water, and then dipped first into a strong solution of phenyle and afterwards
into Dr. Angus Smith's solution at a temperature of 300 Fahrenheit before they were replaced."
4. A general description of the measures taken to protect localities as yet
unaffected is given by the Municipal Commissioner in the following paragraphs:
"They varied somewhat under varying circumstances, and towards the end of epidemic
underwent certain modifications suggested by experience with a view to obtaining the most
favourable results. The general treatment of houses embraced the thorough cleansing and
disinfection of every room where a case occurred, all moris, nahanis and traps connected
with the building were carefully disinfected. Dry chloride of lime or carbolic acid powder
was sprinkled over the floors and passages, not only of the affected house, but also of the
neighbouring ones. The building, inside and out, as well as the gullies, was thoroughly
flushed, the roof opened, and all obstructions to light and air removed.
The house connections were overhauled as already described. All rubbish, such as
rags, old clothes, etc., of which there were enormous quantities, and all infected articles of
small worth were burnt, anything of value being thoroughly disinfected, while the pre-
mises were limewashed from end to end before re-occupation. The condition of the grain
godowns on the Port Trust Estate attracted early attention, as it was found that numerous
cases of plague were occurring in the dwelling rooms above them. Interference with
these warehouses was a matter which demanded very careful consideration, but the sani-
tary interests of the city were all-important, and in every instance where a case of plague
was known to have occurred above a godown, the place was closed for 20 days, the grain
and other merchandise were taken out and exposed to the sun in charge of ramosis, sul-
phur was freely burnt inside and outside the building, and the godowns themselves
thoroughly flushed and disinfected.
Similarly in the case of shops, where a case occurred, no goods were allowed to be
sold till they had been exposed to the sun for at least a day. The shops were not allowed
to be used till they had been shut up and completely fumigated for three days, and even
then had to be limewashed before they were allowed to be re-occupied.
Two hundred and twenty-five godowns and 137 shops were treated in this drastic
manner. At the same time large quantities of infected or damaged sweetmeats and
other food preparations were destroyed, and many tons of grain sweepings were found
which had been collected from the streets and gullies for the purposes of adulterating sound
grain. From one godown as much as 51 cart-loads of these sweepings were taken away
and incinerated.
These measures met with the approval of the Sanitary Commissioner with the Gov-
ernment of Bombay as well as of other Sanitary authorities from all parts of India."
5. In Chapter I, section 2, it has been shown that as early as October
6th, Government had conferred extensive powers on the Municipal Commissioner
under Section 434 of the City Municipal Act. These powers comprised the
removal and segregation of the sick in their hospitals, and entry into buildings
for the purposes of cleaning them. This section was subsequently taken as the
basis of the Epidemic Diseases Act III of 1897.
6. The Municipal Commissioner, however, did not find it advisable to fully
exercise these powers. His explanation, given in his Plague Report, is as
"In order to appreciate the general lines and conception of the operations against
the plague, it is first of all necessary to understand the exact position in which the respon-
sible authorities were placed, and the extraordinary difficulties under which they laboured.
Shortly after the commencement of October, and simultaneously with the more extend-
ed development of segregation and other measures, a wild unreasoning panic appeared to
seize the inhabitants, and continued with little intermission to the middle of February,
when the crisis of the epidemic was past, and the public began to reassure themselves.
My office was besieged every day by natives of all classes imploring that nothing
drastic should be done, and every consideration shown to the people with a view of keeping
them in the city and preventing an absolute stoppage of trade. The Health Officer has
abundantly portrayed in his report the extreme terror which prevailed, and disquieting as
that was from one point of view, from another it was far more serious.
The sanitary work of the City of Bombay is carried on almost entirely by imported
labour divided into two main classes, hallkhors and bigarris. The majority of the
former pertain to the sweeper caste of Gujart; nearly all the latter are Mahrs from
the Deccan. A very small percentage are true natives of Bombay.
These men (numbering hallkhors 2,392, bigarris 3,660) form the working basis
of the sanitary system, and the slightest hitch in their organisation, which is a most
elaborate one, or depletion in their numbers, would immediately involve a serious danger.