Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 8 (ANI): Alleging that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is fudging figures of COVID deaths and and infection rate in Mumbai, BJP MLA and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadanvis wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday asking him to "stop the manipulation and PR activity immediately".
In the letter, Fadanvis said BMC is misusing the 'death due to other reason' clause in the ICMR and WHO guidelines to hide the exact figures of deaths due to COVID-19 in Mumbai.
"You are aware that the WHO for the world and ICMR for India has formulated a guideline for COVID reporting. Every death of a COVID positive patient is to be reported as COVID death only the exception being a death due to accident/suicide/murder or in extreme cases like the death of a COVID positive brain-dead patient or 4th stage cancer patient which despite the patient being COVID positive is to be registered under column 'death due to other reason'," he wrote.
"It is clearly seen that to suppress the CFR or death rate, the BMC is misusing this category to the extent that when the deaths due to other reasons category in Rest of Maharashtra is 0.7 per cent, in Mumbai it is reported 39.4 per cent in per cent," BJP leader added.
He further said that in the second wave "in an effort of window dressing" to bring the infection ratio (positivity rate) down in the BMC area, the BMC has resorted to very low testing.
"In the city of Mumbai where RTPCR testing capacity is around 1 lakh per day, the average per day testing in-toto is 34,191 only. (average of last 10 days) of which 30 per cent tests are RAT. It is true that ICMR has allowed maximum of 30 per cent RAT test but it's only where RTPCR capacity is not available in big numbers otherwise it shouldn't be more than 10 per cent," Fadanvis said.
He cited data and said it "clearly shows" that even the testing is being manipulated to show improvement in infection ratio and positivity rate is coming down. He called it a "false alarm".
Former Maharashtra CM said that if BMC continues to fudge data and the bodies of the people from the category 'deaths due to other reasons' are not cremated as per COVID protocol, it could give rise to "entirely different problems".
Fadanvis said that he "doesn't want" to undermine the efforts of the BMC and state government officials and staff in fighting the COVID in Mumbai and acknowledges the same.
However, he added that as Maharashtra prepare for the third wave "the picture which is being presented through PR agencies is actually misleading and it will weaken the COVID fight."
He requested the Chief Minister to act and order to "stop this manipulation and PR activity immediately." (ANI)