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 [ Images ], 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 Communist Party of India-Marxist 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 [ Images ] leader Nirmal Majhi, member of Legislative Assembly, alleged that some 'corporate houses' had been doing business with the dengue issue.
Calling for cre0ating 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.