Thiruvananthapuram, June 18: Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Sunday mounted pressure on the Kerala government led by Pinarayi Vijayan to take corrective after the state registered a record number of cases of Dengue. At least eleven persons including a three-year child were reported dead till  Saturday. Apart from government hospitals, private nursing homes and health centres were flooded with patients with complaints of fever, Pneumonia and leptospirosis.

On Saturday, of the 19,000 patients who reported at hospitals with fever, there were 680 suspected dengue cases, of which 138 were tested positive. Also, 11 people died on Saturday, taking the dengue toll in the state to 115 this year.

According to reports, the worst affected districts are Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Palakkad. Figures provided by the health department indicate that on an average, in June, daily over 10,000 people came to hospitals with fever.

“This peculiar situation has risen because the health department failed to rise to the occasion ahead of the rains in the state. No measure was taken to do cleaning operations that generally take place before the arrival of monsoon rains,” Chennithala said.

“The temporary cleaning staff, who were in service, were terminated and hence no proper sanitation programme was conducted,” the Congress leader added.

Chennithala also said that “I have been told that there is a shortage of medicines and health professionals to tackle this raging fever”.

“We are not going to launch any sort of protest. Instead, we have directed all our legislators to see that they take the lead and on June 20, start massive cleaning operations in their constituencies.”

“The health department, including the Health Minister, has been a total failure and I have asked Vijayan to see that he immediately takes corrective steps. He has promised to intervene by calling a meeting of top health officials,” added Chennithala.

However, Health Minister K.K. Shylaja defended her department’s initiatives and said “its work before the rains is unprecedented but the results appear different”.

“The need of the hour is not to make this a political issue and work together to keep the surroundings clean,” she said.

(with inputs from IANS)