Maharashtra government has been hiding the actual number of Covid-19 fatalities in the name of data reconciliation, senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis alleged.
In his letter addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly alleged delay by the government in adding the actual number of Covid-19 deaths occurring every day in the state to its official tally.
"Due to this practice of adding old Covid-19 deaths in the tally later, the state ended up adding 4,460 fatalities in the last seven days," Fadnavis wrote.
The data reconciliation process of the Maharashtra government is aimed at minimising the instances of duplication in reporting the number of Covid-19 patients and fatalities.
"The reconciliation work is still not completed by the state government due to which fatalities occurred one week ago or even before are still being added into the total figures. This doesn't give the actual picture of deaths occurring daily but is included in the final report after a week.
"Due to this late inclusion, as many as 4,460 deaths have been added in the state government's report in the last seven days," Fadnavis wrote.
He stated that 20 per cent of the total Covid-19 fatalities in Maharashtra occurred in Mumbai city alone.
"We cannot afford to ignore any part of the state in the current Covid-19 situation," he said.
Fadnavis also questioned the "low number of testing" in Mumbai.
Maharashtra on average conducted 40,760 tests per day between April 19 and 26, he said.
"Nagpur district with the population of 40 lakh tested 26,792 people on an average during the same period (April 19 to 26) per day while Pune with the population of 68 lakh conducted 22,000 tests per day, but Mumbai's population is 3-4 times more compared to Pune and Nagpur," he said.
"But Mumbai's average number of tests per day comes at 40,760, which should have been much higher," Fadnavis stated.
He said ideally 70 per cent of total tests should be through RT-PCR and 30 per cent should be rapid antigen tests.
"But the actual data shows that Maharashtra is carrying out 40 per cent antigen tests. (coronavirus) infection is spreading at the rate of 25-27 per cent. In this scenario, such a high number of antigen tests raises the fear of false negatives due to which the infected people will continue to spread the infection," Fadnavis said.
Maharashtra on Tuesday reported 66,358 fresh coronavirus positive cases and 895 fatalities, taking the tally of infections to 44,10,085 and the toll to 66,179, the state health department said.
Mumbai recorded 3,999 new cases and 59 deaths, raising the overall tally to 6,35,483 and the toll to 12,920.
Of the 895 fatalities, 392 occurred in the last 48 hours while 179 occurred in the last week. While the rest 324 deaths had occurred in the period before the last week, these figures were added to the toll now, a health official explained.
(With PTI inputs)