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Those who filed PILs on the dengue menace in West Bengal today prayed for compensation to the kin of those who died of the vector-borne disease and that it be declared an epidemic in the state. Appearing for one of the petitioners, counsel Ashish Sanyal submitted before a bench of Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee that if the state government could dole out compensations to the kin of those who died due to consumption of spurious liquor, it must do the same for the dengue victims. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state had announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of those who died due to consumption of spurious liquor, so the same could be done for the dengue-related deaths, Sanyal submitted before the bench. Counsel Bikash Bhattacharya alleged that the government was trying to hide the actual number of dengue deaths in the state this year and that it was intimidating the doctors who spoke out. Appearing for another petitioner, counsel Loknath Chatterjee prayed that dengue be declared an epidemic in the state and that necessary measures be taken to control the spread of the disease. Hearing in the petitions was adjourned till Thursday, when the government would put forward its submissions. The Mamata Banerjee-led government had, on November 9, submitted an affidavit before the high court, stating that the spurt in the dengue cases could have been caused by the climate, combined with a huge movement of people during the long holiday season in October. The rise in the number of affected persons in October could largely be attributed to a very abrupt behaviour of the climate, severe and low rainfall conditions favouring the transmission of the vector-borne disease, combined with the huge movement of people during the holiday season, state Director of Health Services (DHS) Biswa Ranjan Satpathy had said in the affidavit. Claiming that the government had taken "all the steps, in keeping with the suggested protocol of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare", Satpathy had said this had led to a very effective combating of vector-borne diseases from January till the third week of September, when the number of dengue deaths in the state was only five. He had said there was a sudden increase in the cases from last week of September and throughout October at certain places. The DHS had also identified these places to be in Kolkata, North 24 Parganas district and Krishnagar in Nadia district. Since January, 19 dengue patients had died in government hospitals and 18,135 patients were treated for the disease in the state till date, Satpathy had said. Several public interest litigation (PIL) petitions, seeking steps to control the vector-borne disease and compensation for the kin of those who died of dengue in the state were moved before the high court.
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