Alappuzha municipality's fumigation drive to ‘kill virus in air’ draws criticism

As part of the drive, the Municipality distributed an Ayurvedic powder to all households.
Alappuzha dhooma sandhya
Alappuzha dhooma sandhya
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Alappuzha municipality has drawn criticisms for its fumigation drive as part of its measures to tackle coronavirus. The Municipality officials distributed Aparajitha Dhooma Choornam — a powder made of Ayurvedic ingredients — free of cost to households. On May 8, around 6.30 pm, they urged all residents in the Municipality to burn the powder and fumigate their houses and the surrounding areas. They claimed this would help prevent bacteria and viruses from spreading through the air.

As per reports, Alappuzha MP AM Arif and Communist Party of India (CPI) member P Chithranjan, who won from the constituency in recent Assembly elections, also took part in the drive. The fumigation exercise was carried in all municipality offices and other public places too.

The Municipality made the announcement about the “campaign” through a notice as well as loudspeakers. The notice claimed that this powder is antiviral and antibacterial, and so it can “prevent” all germs from spreading through the air. The notice also asks people to fumigate on May 8 at 6.30 pm.

The Municipality faced flak from many sectors for its unscientific method. Some stated that promoting such unscientific practices could culminate in spreading misconceptions among the public.

Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP), a people's science movement in Kerala, slammed the move, calling it an irresponsible act by the Municipality. They pointed out that such drives from government institutions could manipulate the public.

Some even raised questions over the Municipality spending public money for such unscientific practices. "This fumigation drive was conducted across 52 wards of the Municipality, in around 50,000 houses. It was an awareness programmed to kill germs in the air. We also aim to protect the residents from common diseases during the monsoon season. We have taken a prescription from Ayurveda district medical officer," Soumya Raj, Municipality Chairperson, told the media.

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