Expressing grave concerns over parts of the Bihar capital being inundated for over a fortnight now and reports of people suffering from dengue, the Patna High Court on Friday directed the state government to take urgent steps.
A division bench of Justice Shivaji Pandey and Justice Partha Sarathi passed the order while hearing a bunch of writ petitions filed by various parties drawing the court's attention to the destruction caused in the city following three days of torrential rainfall last month.
"Citizens of Patna are facing the problem of water-logging in certain areas and also reports have come through newspapers that people are suffering from dengue and one member of the bar has already died of dengue fever which is a serious matter," the court said.
The court was referring to the death of advocate Rajiv Lochan at a private hospital on Wednesday while undergoing treatment for symptoms similar to dengue.
The state government has, however, denied any deaths due to the viral disease even though it has acknowledged a spurt in the incidence of dengue this month.
The court ordered that water be drained out of areas that are still inundated and asked the state government as well as the municipal corporation to "take steps to prevent the spreading of dengue on a war-footing".
"It is also expected that the municipal corporation will remove garbage from different places of the city without delay. It is causing great harm to the citizens of the city and leading to the spread of the menace of dengue," it said.
In an apparent reference to frequent complaints of helplines set up by the authorities being unresponsive, the court directed the state government as well as the municipal corporation to "show sensitivity" by receiving phone calls and giving proper replies.
"Phone numbers and names of officials concerned should be displayed on the website and published in newspapers," it added.
Underscoring that a festival season was underway, the court noted, "Chhath puja is going to be celebrated on 31st of October, 2019. It is expected that the ghats will be restored so that people can have easy access to these."
Fixing the matter for further hearing after four weeks, the court directed the state government to file a detailed counter-affidavit stating, among other things, details of officials responsible for and contractors awarded work of cleaning of sewer lines and drains, preventive steps taken in the wake of the forecast of heavy rains and the amount of money spent on unclogging of the drains.
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