Mumbai: With swine flu increasing in alarming proportions in the state, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said all hospitals have been directed to provide free treatment to patients under its "Mission Mode" to contain the epidemic.
Swine flu today claimed 12 more lives in Maharashtra, taking the death toll to 143, an official statement of state Health ministry said.
"The government is working on a "Mission mode" with regards to swine flu. We have informed private hospitals to immediately admit patients who bear symptoms of swine flu. Entire cost of treatment (of H1N1 patients) at all hospitals (private and district) will be borne by the state government," Fadnavis, told PTI.
He said even the cost of treatment that patients bear post-discharge will be borne by the government and assured patients of full support.
Fadnavis said the number of cases from cities like Pune and Nagpur is decreasing but a new "threat" is emerging from Latur region.
"Fresh spate of untimely rains that Mumbai and other parts witnessed is a worrying factor for us because the dip in temperatures may aggravate the spread of the virus. The next 15 days remain a challenge for us. The chief secretary and the health minister are personally monitoring the situation. We are trying to raise awareness among the people," he said.
Meanwhile, opposition Congress, attacking the BJP government has demanded the immediate resignation of state health minister.
Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil termed the present situation as "failure of the government" and said the health minister should immediately step down owning moral responsibility of the epidemic.
"The health minister is sitting in Mumbai and officers in
their offices at a time when people are dying of swine flu. Drugs are being sold at a premium price which is beyond the reach of the common man. Nowhere is the health minister seen active," Patil said.
"There has not been a single advertisement in newspapers or television to educate people on swine flu. There has been a complete management disaster on the part of the government. How many more deaths does the government wants to see before taking any steps? The health minister should resign immediately," he said.
Reacting to Patil's statement, Fadnavis said instead of demanding the resignation of health minister, opposition should cooperate with the government and give suggestions to contain the spread of the deadly disease.
"The number of deaths due to swine flu have swelled not only in the state but in whole country. The situation is grim all over. Health minister and I are trying our best.
"I think at a time like this, we expect co-operation from the opposition. They should show us our mistakes and we will work on them. It would be better if he (Patil) gives us suggestions," Fadnavis said.
According to official figures, as of March 1, a total of 1,735 cases of swine flu have been reported in the state, of which 143 people have succumbed to the disease.