"BJP will launch an agitation if the government fails to take effective steps within a week (to combat jaundice)", said the chief spokesman of HP BJP, Ganesh Dutt.

He claimed the number of jaundice patients has reached 15,000 and that about a dozen persons have reportedly died due to the disease.

Accusing the government of concealing the data on patients and any fatalities, Dutt demanded that criminal cases be registered against the officials of IPH, SMC and Pollution Control Board.

He also called for fixing of responsibility over the supply of contaminated water.

He claimed that repeated requests by officials to the government seeking funds for expansion of tanks and treatment of water had been ignored.

The state government has money for buying vehicles worth Rs 50 lakh for their ministers and officials, but does not have funds to provide safe drinking water to the residents, he further alleged.

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