Kolkata: Raging virulently in the city and adjoining Bidhannagar satellite township, dengue has taken in its grip more and more areas amidst unofficial reports of over 20 deaths in Kolkata, while the state health department confirmed only three fatalities.
Though the exact number of afflictions was not known, non-availability of beds in both state-run and private hospitals has compounded the situation. The dengue issue has given a handle to political parties with the Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chattopadhyay claiming that the situation was not as alarming as was sought to be projected by some opposition parties.
Leader of the opposition in state Assembly Suryakanta Mishra doubted the seriousness of the health department to deal with the menace and put blame on government’s “inaction”.
Calling for united efforts by all political parties to combat the vector-borne disease on a war-footing, he ridiculed the Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s decision to publish a white paper on the issue.
The CPI(M) leader said there was a vast gap between official and unofficial figures of dengue attacks. Seeking to allay fears of largescale outbreak of the
disease, Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim said “dengue is a natural phenomenon” and there was no cause of panic.
Trinamool Congress leader Nirmal Majhi, MLA, alleged that some ‘corporate houses’ had been doing business with the dengue issue. Congress leader Omprakash Mishra charged the Trinamool Congress with opening “unnecessary debates” on dengue which had been spreading fast.
Unofficial reports said over 20 persons lost their lives in dengue attacks either in hospitals or in residences, and the disease has affected over 1,700. Apart from Kolkata, other districts hit by the disease are North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Nadia, official reports said.
The health department website said dengue has so far claimed three lives in the metropolis with 405 cases reported and 1,2152 rapid tests done for dengue diagnosis.
Health department sources said the deaths were caused by dengue shock syndrome. Calling for creating social awareness about the disease, Hakim said the state government and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation had taken steps to deal with the situation.
He said orders of Rs 1.39 crore had been placed for purchase of oil for repelling mosquitoes. However, he said the situation was exacerbated by people keeping flower pots on rooftops, which acted as breeding ground for mosquitoes. On reports about non-availability of beds in hospitals, he said no patient should be returned without admission. State-run hospitals were ready to admit dengue patients, he said, adding that he himself helped in the admission of some patients who were later diagnosed to be suffering from typhoid.