regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Mamata Banerjee breaks silence on dengue toll: 11 deaths

Health and urban development department are jointly working to curb cases in state, says CM

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 24.11.22, 04:54 AM
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee File picture

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said in the Assembly that 11 persons died of dengue this year, the first official figure from the state government on deaths since the vector-borne disease saw a surge across Bengal in 2022.

“So far, 11 persons have died of dengue this year, including six in government hospitals. The number of dengue cases was not high in the past two years during the Covid-19 period. This year dengue cases have increased. The health and urban development department are jointly working to curb dengue cases in the state,” Mamata said.


Mamata’s statement comes a day after BJP legislators staged a walkout from the Assembly in protest of the steep rise in dengue cases in the state and Speaker Biman Banerjee denied an adjournment motion moved by the Opposition on the issue.

BJP MLAs, especially leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, accused chief minister and health minister Mamata Banerjee of not attending the House to inform it about the dengue situation.

Dengue cases witnessed a steep rise in at least six Bengal districts, including Calcutta, but the state health department remained mum on the toll. Although multiple hospitals, including both private and government, stated dengue as the cause of death in many cases, health officials did not officially go public with the numbers.

Opposition leaders accused Mamata of suppressing the toll.

“The state government is an expert in hiding facts and figures. This is what they did during Covid-19. We want the state government to present the real picture on dengue deaths,” said BJP chief whip Manoj Tigga.

CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty accused the state government of suppressing dengue data. He claimed far more people had died of the disease than 11.

“We know from sources that at least 75 persons have died of dengue this season. It is surprising that the chief minister is claiming only 11,” Chakraborty said.

Mamata admitted in the Assembly that dengue cases rose significantly this year and added that the count would drop once the temperature dips.

“Dengue cases increased this year but it is now under control. Cases increased particularly in Calcutta, Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24-Parganas. The government will not be slack in controlling dengue till the next month. I will request all MLAs to be careful. Don’t panic,” she said.

The state saw a little over 60,000 dengue cases in the state this year, the highest in five years. A health official said although the positivity rate was 12.7 per cent till earlier this month, the downward trend had started.

The steep rise in dengue cases this year made the Opposition mount attacks on Mamata’s government’s “mismanagement of public health management system”.

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on November 7 wrote to Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya urging immediate central intervention to save the people of Bengal from the “mismanaged dengue situation”.

Armed with junior Union health minister Bharati Pravin Pawar’s allegation that the Bengal government wasn’t sharing dengue data with the Centre, BJP leaders had been attacking Mamata these past few weeks.

After Mamata turned up with dengue data in the Assembly on Wednesday, the BJP credited its “continuous movement”.

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