New Delhi: Dengue crisis in the national capital showed no signs of abating with a 17-year old boy succumbing to the vector-borne disease today allegedly due to medical negligence, taking the death toll to 17 as hospitals --both private and government--were under strain grappling with the rising number of patients.
Facing criticism, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sought cooperation from Opposition parties to deal with the situation.
The latest dengue victim Rishabh, a resident of New Seemapuri in north-east Delhi and a class 10 student, died at Max super-speciality hospital in Ghaziabad and his family alleged medical negligence and claimed they were charged exorbitant fees by the hospital.
The rising cases of dengue brought into sharp focus the lack of infrastructure in the city hospitals to combat the disease as they continued to be flooded with patients down with the life-threatening fever transmitted through infected mosquitoes.
Chief Minister Kejriwal inspected two East Delhi hospitals to take stock of dengue preparedness at a time when more than 2,000 people are in the grip of the disease.
Kejriwal made rounds of Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital. He opened 200 beds at the latter as part of the government's move to add 1,000 similar beds by Sunday.
"We are launching 200 beds at Rajiv Gandhi hospital today. For now, doctors and nurses from GTB Hospital will work here," Kejriwal said. The government had yesterday set up another 200-bedded facility at an upcoming hospital in north- west Delhi.
The Chief Minister, who interacted with patients, doctors and hospital staff during his visits, also lashed out at the BJP-ruled civic bodies for their alleged financial misappropriation and lack of efforts to contain the disease.
"Whatever amount you give them, they siphon off each and every penny. More than work, money is paramount for them. They are not satisfied no matter how much you give them," he told reporters responding to allegations that the government had not released enough funds to the corporations.
Kejriwal claimed that in the current financial year the government has released more money to the MCDs than last year. "How much money do they need to spray medicine? Why don't they deploy 10,000 men who are only for this purpose?"
The BJP-ruled MCDs have been accusing the AAP government of not releasing adequate funds to deal with the dengue menace.
The Chief Minister wrote separate letters to leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta and DPCC chief Ajay Maken and requested them to cooperate in government's fight against dengue.
"The city is facing the worst outbreaks of dengue fever. It is our responsibility to serve the people of this city, keeping politics aside. Delhi government is dedicated and is working for public welfare day and night.
"With this letter I would like to invite your party members to work with us. Kindly inform me about your suggestions and role you would like to play. Whenever you have time, kindly visit my office to discuss the strategy to fight with dengue," the Chief Minister said.
On Wednesday, the Delhi Government had directed private hospitals to increase their bed capacity by 10-20 per cent as soon as possible to treat dengue patients.
The Aam Aadmi Party has decided to set up "fever clinics" across Delhi to offer free treatment to the patients. The ruling party accused the BJP-ruled civic bodies of "total failure" in containing spread of the vector-borne disease.
Currently, the total bed capacity of city hospitals is around 50,000 which include 10,000 beds in Delhi government- run hospitals and 20,000 in private hospitals. The hospitals run by municipal corporations and Centre have a capacity of 10,000 beds each.