Political row builds up as Bengal refuses to make dengue data public
“This is man-made dengue. The government had prior knowledge regarding the issue and is not serious about its people," said state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury
As the number of dengue cases rise in West Bengal, a slugfest has erupted over the state government’s continued reluctance to provide data on the number of cases and the death toll.
This year, the central website on this count has absolutely no data from West Bengal and the concerned column on the National Centre for Vector Borne Disease Control (NCVBDC) website shows NR (not reported).
What has surprised many observers is that the West Bengal health department this year is not releasing the weekly data of dengue-affected figures officially as it they used to do until last year, so the NCVBDC had all the related data.
Unofficial sources claim that the total number of people affected by dengue has crossed 38,000 as of 24 September.
A political tussle has surfaced over the prevailing situation, with state Congress president and five-time Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury describing the situation as "man-made".
Also Read: Dengue cases in Bengal top 38K mark
“This is man-made dengue. The government had prior knowledge regarding the issue and is not serious about its people. Even the doctors have been instructed not to mention dengue as the cause of death as it will portray the government in a bad light," he said.
A similar allegation has been floated by Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP, leader of the opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, who said while all the state governments are submitting data to the Union government, the West Bengal government stands out as the only exception.
“The state government is not releasing any data as regards to dengue- related deaths. I have figures that the death toll is over 100 this season already. But the state government is trying to conceal that by forcing doctors to describe dengue deaths as death from unknown diseases,” he said.
Some sections of the state's medical fraternity also claim that the tendency to "suppress facts" is aggravating the danger. According to Association of Health Service Doctors general secretary Dr Manas Gumta, the dengue menace can never be controlled through such suppression of facts. “Rather it adds to the confusion,” he added.