The number of cases of dengue continues to surge, with the official report from the State Health Department pointing out that the number of people afflicted with the malady has gone past a thousand, and stands at 1,125 as on Saturday.

Though the government records claim that so far five persons have died of the disease, senior leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress have claimed that the figures are much higher.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), which has been criticised by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for being “negligent” in controlling the spread of the ailment, has decided to take the help of self-help groups to create awareness in different localities.

“The self-help groups will campaign, distribute pamphlets, and spread awareness on the prevention and control of the disease in all the 141 wards of the city,” said Atin Ghosh, Member, Mayor-in-Council (Health) of KMC.

Meanwhile, questions were raised on a recent report of the civic body, in which it claimed to have visited 12.6 lakh households between August 12 and September 7. Going by the figures in the report, it suggests that the officials of the civic body visited approximately 50,000 houses in a day. When asked, Mr. Ghosh told The Hindu that there were printing mistakes in the report, and the figures were on the number of households visited by the officials of the civic body between July and August.

He also added that some households were visited several times by the civic body.

Meanwhile, Ms. Banerjee paid a surprise visit to Ramrik Das Harlalka Hospital located in Bhawanipore area to inspect its preparedness to treat patients afflicted with the illness. She said she was appalled to see the dilapidated condition of the hospital, and asked the authorities to prepare a plan for its upgrade.

“We will come up with a full-fledged diagnostic centre here. The hospital will serve as the annex building of the SSKM Hospital, the State’s referral hospital, and will relieve the pressure of patients there,” she told journalists after the inspection.

The State’s Urban Development Minister, Firhad Hakim, said at the State Secretariat that Ms. Banerjee had asked Trinamool Congress MPs to spend MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) funds for the health sector, as the State was facing a financial crunch.