Paras. 342 to
Paras. 336,
Para. 340.
Para. 333.
"5. It appears to us to be clear that more energetic and systematized action is
necessary if any real good is to be done, and if the money already spent is not to be
regarded as wasted. Dr. Bentley shows what the result of such action has been in different
parts of the world, in many of which the conditions, both of climate and administration, are
far less favourable than those found in Bombay. It will hardly be maintained that action
which has, proved entirely successful with the backward populations of South American
cities or in petty islands of the West Indies cannot be applied in Bombay. It seems clear
that some legislative power must be taken to ensure the entire prevention of the disease.
It is, however, in the first place useless to enact sanitary clauses to which a penalty is
attached unless they will be given effect to by the magistrates, and the figures given by
Dr. Bentley show how extremely lenient is the standard of magisterial action in Bombay.
It seems further necessary to insert some provision to prevent the breeding of malaria
bearing insects and to render wilful carelessness in this direction punishable. Such powers
must doubtless be exercised with great discretion, but if they have not been found oppressive
elsewhere, it cannot be supposed that they will be found so in a city such as Bombay where
opportunities for appeal, and public complaint are so readily available. In a matter of this
kind we think it clear that the initiative must come from Government. We agree further
with Dr. Bentley that the Municipal Commissioner should be given further powers under the
very important section 381 of the Municipal Act. At present he can only move the
Standing Committee to take action, and such action is inevitably so delayed as to lose much
of its effect. The Standing Committee only sees the wells reported upon at long intervals,
and even when they have passed an order for closing a well, there is no means for doing
so, except through magisterial process, which is exceedingly slow.
"6. In many cases objections have been raised on religious grounds to the entire
closing of wells: and in others, such as those of wells situated in gardens and compounds,
the water of the wells may be beneficially used for various purposes, though the wells
themselves are liable to become breeding places for mosquitoes. It is in wells such as
these that fish of the species mentioned in paragraphs 189 to 193 of the report can be
employed, and especially the kazari fish. These fish have not, we believe, been tried'
sufficiently in many of the Bombay wells, nor for sufficiently long a period, to enable the
degree of pollution and of want of air which they can survive in interior wells to be stated
with confidence; and it is probable that in wells into which rubbish is thrown or finds its
way, they are of little use in keeping down mosquito larv. But in many wells their
presence has been found beneficial, and we consider that an effort should be made to
extend the use of this cheap and innocuous method of dealing with the existing evil. We
consider therefore that wells should be divided by the Health Department of the Munici-
pality into the following classes:-
(1) Those within or close to houses which are found to be polluted with
sewage, or whose conditions render their successful stocking with fish impracticable.
These should be, if possible, filled up, or if not filled up, covered with a covering of
concrete and masonry impervious to air.
(2) Similar wells, which are genuinely and regularly used for religious
purposes. These should be covered with a concrete cover with a trap-door of gauze
covering, through which water may be drawn. These wells should be licensed, and,
the license should be withdrawable by the Commissioner in the event of the trap-
door being found not to be mosquitoproof, or to be left constantly open. The
license should be renewable on a payment of Rs. 5, but in the event of a second
withdrawal being necessary, the well should be subject to closing on the order of
the Commissioner.
(3) Wells inside or in the vicinity of houses in which anopheles larv are
discovered. The owners of these should be required (a) either to fill up or cover
hermetically such wells, or in cases in which the water is required for use for
religious purposes, to cover with a double gauze cover. In the latter case a license
would be issued, and would be withdrawable as in the case of class (2) above, and
would be re-issuable only on payment, or (b) to clean them and stock them with fish
which would in the first instance be supplied by the Municipality. These wells
would be subject to constant inspection, fortnightly or, if necessary, weekly. They
would be licensed by the Commissioner, without the payment of any fee, and in
cases in which the well was found not to be kept clear from rubbish, or in which the
stock of fish had died out or become insufficient, as proved by the presence of
anopheles larv, the license would be withdrawn by the Commissioner and would
only be reissuable on the payment of a fee of Rs. 5. Although the amount of
inspection involved in these proposals would necessarily be large and constant, we
consider that there is no reason why it should be in any way inquisitorial; and
the annoyance often caused by such visits, however inoffensively conducted, could
be prevented by having them on a fixed day for each locality, so that owners could
be present and could satisfy themselves of the fairness of the method in which the
inspection was carried out.
"7. We consider that in this way full respect would be payable to religious prejudices
without allowing these prejudices to develop, through facilities permitted for mosquito