West Bengal

Praise and criticism greet Mamata in her fight against Covid-19

Agency News

Kolkata, May 17 : At the initial stage when the Coronavirus pandemic spread in Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led state administration worked strenuously to keep the people in the state safe from the deadly virus disease and that too praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Cabinet colleagues and State Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

However, during the last two months issues like the word ‘Comorbidity’ mixed with death toll, alleged gross violation of lockdown measures, low rate of testing, non-cooperation with central health official team and migrant labourers issue have kept the chief minister on backfoot. West Bengal recorded its first case of deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 17, when an 18-year-old student, who had returned from London, tested positive for the virus and after a week later, on March 23, West Bengal recorded its first COVID related death when a 57-year-old succumbed to the virus.

But during these last two lockdown months, the toll due to Covid-19 in the state rose to 160 as on May 16 while confirmed cases touched 2576 in the state with 115 more cases on Saturday, a health department official bulletin said. With 115 more cases, total confirmed cases touched 2576 in the state, while the count of active cases accounted for 1452. While 160 people died of Covid-19, 72 passed away due to Comorbidity. Altogether 892 people have been discharged so far, while the total number of samples tested stood at 72,288, it stated.

The state government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee suffered a major electoral jolt in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections last year, the extraordinary situation over Covid-19 has offered the state administration an opportunity to reach out to the common people and the administration has swung into action. When the COVID-19 first spread in the state, the chief minister was seen leading the entire battle from the front. ‘Work from home’ is not for her, and almost every day she was hitting the streets and lanes of Kolkata, either reviewing the emergency measures or lending a helping hand in distributing food to the poor or talking to encourage doctors and health workers, the personnel in the frontline of the fight against coronavirus infection and addressing the people using social media.

Ms Banerjee has donated Rs 5 lakh each to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and the West Bengal State Emergency Relief Fund “in an attempt to support our country’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19”. She tweeted this information out on March 31. Thus she has shown the way to others, acting as an inspiration for many more to come forward to donate wholeheartedly, whatever they can. Further, Ms Banerjee said in her tweet that she does not take any salary as an MLA or a chief minister and has also foregone her MP pension despite being a seven-time MP.

“My primary source of income is from my creative pursuits, the royalties I generate from my music and books”, she wrote, and it is out of this income that she has contributed to the funds. An image circulating on social media at the time showed her drawing circles on the road in front of a shop to demonstrate to people how to practise physical distancing. Regular meetings with senior health and district officials were broadcast live on local television news channels. (UNI)