The Bombay High Court today asked the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to file a reply to a petition by June 7 on steps taken by it to tackle vector-borne and water-borne diseases including leptospirosis, H1N1, dengue, swine flu and malaria.

The HC also asked the civic body to inform whether it was utilising funds on public health earmarked in its budget.

The hearing on the PIL, filed by NCP corporator Dhananjay Pisal, was deferred to June 10 by a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka to enable the MCGM, which runs several hospitals in the city and suburbs, to file a reply. Petitioner's counsel Umesh Mohite urged the high court to
direct formation of a special investigating team to probe how the civic body utilised the money allotted for public health.

According to the PIL, Rs 3700 crore was earmarked this year in the budget of the civic body for public health but the funds are not being utilised fully and it has been observed from the previous records that only 18 to 20 per cent of the funds earmarked for healthcare was used by the municipal corporation.

Stating that only one civic hospital has facilities to test samples for leptospirosis, the petition demanded that all municipal hospitals should have this facility so as to save crucial time in bringing a patient to the sample test centre as the delay could prove fatal for patients.

The PIL requested a probe the failure of civic hospitals in providing medicine, equipment and staff for public health despite having a budget to tackle the water-borne and vector-borne diseases.