Bengal in a muddle with coronavirus cases and political turmoil

Published : Jun 19, 2020 09:29 am | By: Priya Ghosh

Bengal in a muddle with coronavirus cases and political turmoil


Bengal is grappling with the rising COVID 19 cases with a lurking problem of limited beds in hospitals. There has been agitation in the state regarding some of the decisions which the government is taking in terms of healthcare. Along with it the TMC and BJP in the state are both targetting the 2021 assembly election and they are in a constant battle even during a time of crisis.

 With the number of COVID cases on the rise all over the country, even Bengal faces the pressure and is struggling to fight the pandemic. There has been a sense of worry amongst  officials and healthcare workers about the burden that the hospitals in Kolkata are experiencing due to the increase in coronavirus patients and they fear that it might spread to the districts as well., Kolkata has witnessed a 33% of total infections and over 60% of the patients who have been dead so far. There are certain state run hospitals which have been dedicated to COVID patients.  Several private hospitals have also started admitting COVID patients but they have very few beds to accommodate and are also very expensive so it becomes very difficult for the common people to afford. The Supreme Court had earlier criticized the government of West Bengal on how it was tackling the COVID crisis and had directed to take immediate action.

Recently the Bengal government decided to convert  Sagar Dutta Medical College in North 24 Parganas district into a Covid-19 facility. However, the junior doctors and the interns protested, saying it would be detrimental for patients suffering from other diseases.

There were protestors seen on streets demanding the withdrawal of the government orders and, they created havoc by ransacking a local Trinamool office and in retaliation, some of the Trinamool workers assaulted the demonstrators. There were members of the Congress and the CPIM who were also protesting and they were lathi-charged. The situation is becoming volatile with the government being unable to provide enough hospitals with adequate beds. Even though a couple of government hospitals have huge bed strength the government is failing to accommodate all patients. This is causing people of the state and the city to panic. There is also another concern that the officials are stating that as the lockdown has been lifted in non-containment zones and economic activities has begun, there is a chance that the virus will spread more as hundreds of people will be traveling from the districts to the city. Apart from Howrah and North 24 Parganas, which already have a heavy caseload, districts such as Hooghly, Purba, and Paschim Bardhaman, Nadia, and Purba and Paschim Medinipur are at risk.

 Another criticism that the Bengal government has been facing is after a video that went viral that showed decomposed bodies were being dragged in vans of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. There was a furor as to how the bodies were handled. Resulting in the public flak, the Bengal health department government is mulling not to conduct Covid-19 tests on bodies of deceased patients, especially if they were not detected with coronavirus-like symptoms.


 The Bengal government has stated that the active cases have dropped to less than recovered cases for quite some time and they claim that this aspect has not been highlighted. The Bengal CM has also said that a door-to-door health survey has been conducted in her state by the Accredited Social Health Activists and other front liners which were suggested by Nobel laureate economist Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, the head of the chief minister’s global advisory board on Bengal’s COVID Response Policy. She added that the teams in her state have already completed 16 crore visits.  And that her state is by far the highest in India.

 Meanwhile, amidst the ongoing battle between the Center and Bengal CM Banerjee did not attend the virtual meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the coronavirus pandemic with the chief ministers as the state was not allowed a spot as a speaker as per reports. Earlier the Trinamool party sources had said that she is undecided about her participation in the meeting. Sources said that West Bengal had been invited but was not slotted as one of the speakers. This resulted in a political storm in Bengal with the TMC slamming  the Union government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for defending the Centre’s decision as correct

 Meanwhile, in a bid to strengthen its position ahead of the 2021 assembly election, the West Bengal unit of the BJP has embarked upon a  campaign where they will deliver Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s letter to the citizens emphasizing on the milestones achieved by of BJP-led government in the center.   Along with it the party is also planning to make the citizens aware of the Bengal government’s alleged failure to deal with issues like the COVID 19 and the Amphan. The BJP is eyeing to overthrow the TMC government and for that, they have decided to revive their political activities across the state as it had come to a halt due to the lockdown.