Additional Solicitor General Kaushik Chanda, appearing for the centre before the court in connection with a set of PILs over "dengue outbreak" in the state, claimed that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state could not utilise the funds provided to it under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme.
He submitted before a division bench of Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee that the state could not spend Rs 22.25 crore in this regard in 2015-16 and failed to utilise Rs 19.77 crore in 2016-17, provided to it for controlling the vector-borne diseases.
He further submitted that the centre had written to the state on October 31 this year to provide technical assistance in controlling dengue and other vector-borne diseases, adding that it was yet to receive a reply from the state government.
Counsel Srijib Chakraborty, appearing for one of the petitioners, claimed to have collected copies of death certificates of four persons, who died of dengue in government hospitals and whose names did not figure in the list provided by the state government.
Advocate General (AG) Kishore Dutta had yesterday told the court that 38 people had died due to the fever so far this year in the state, of whom 23 died in the state-run hospitals.
Mr Chakraborty submitted the copies of death certificates of Suman De, Shefali Roy, Lakshmi Ghosh and Pritam Haldar, who died in state-run hospitals since October and claimed that the cause of their death was stated to be a dengue virus attack.
The lawyer also stated that he, as a private citizen, could collect the copies of the death certificates and prayed for a direction to the state government to submit the exact number dengue deaths this year in the court.
The petitioners have alleged that the Mamata Banerjee-led government is not disclosing the actual figure of those affected by dengue and prayed for a direction to it to reveal the number of people who died of the disease and those found to be suffering from it.
On a prayer by another petitioner that dengue be declared an epidemic in the state, the AG submitted that it was an administrative issue and not in the domain of the judiciary.
The petitioners have also prayed for an adequate compensation to the kin of those who have died from dengue in the state this year.
The court adjourned the hearing in the PILs till November 24.