A PIL was filed in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday urging the court to declare dengue as an epidemic due to the number of lives lost to it. The public interest litigation filed by a social activist Vishnu Gavali, would be heard by the high court onNovember 17. The PIL has stated that several people have died due to dengue and malaria, in the last five months, which have created an “epidemic-like situation.”

Looking at the rising number of dengue cases in the state, Gavali asked the state government to take serious and adequate measures for its prevention and control. He in the PIL has alleged that the deaths have occurred due to a lapse in providing medical facilities by the government. “The state government hospitals and semi-government hospitals, including Directorate of Health should not play with the life of common man and no one should die without getting medical services and health care facilities,” says the PIL.

It alleged that the medical facility provided at the government hospitals was not adequate and patients often have to approach private hospitals which charge high fees. A lot of people in rural and even urban areas cannot afford the costs of private hospitals, as a result of which they suffer. The government and concerned municipal bodies have failed to clear debris and other garbage, which has resulted in accumulation of stagnant water in urban and rural areas. Even ponds have not been cleaned, which has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, alleges the PIL.

It condemns the stand taken by the health department to offer help only if local bodies approach them first. Further, the state government has “miserably failed” to create awareness among people about the disease and there is an urgent need to keep the environment clean, the PIL says. Stating that an urgent note should be taken of the “epidemic-like situation” caused by dengue, the PIL seeks that medical facilities must be declared as “essential” and must be provided to all those suffering from the dreaded disease.

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