The Bombay High Court Friday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to reply by June 7 to a public interest litigation (PIL) about the increase in vector-borne and water-borne diseases in the city.
Justice A S Oka and Justice P D Naik also asked the civic body to inform how it was utilising funds earmarked for public health in its budget.
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The PIL, filed by NCP corporator Dhananjay Pisal through lawyer Umesh Mohite, seeks directions for the formation of a special investigating team to probe how the civic body has used money allotted for public health, especially when cases of leptospirosis, H1N1, dengue, swine flu and malaria are on the rise.
The petitioner has alleged that the BMC has failed to provide adequate medicine, equipment and staff to its hospitals, despite having funds for it.
The PIL claims that Rs 3,700 crore was earmarked for public health in the BMC’s budget, but was not fully utilised. It says previous records indicate utilisation of a mere 18 to 20 per cent of the funds allotted for healthcare.
In addition, the PIL says only one municipal hospital has facilities to test samples for leptospirosis, and has sought that these facilities be set up in every civic hospital. It says crucial time is lost in bringing a patient to the sample test centre and the delay can prove fatal.