Doctors cry foul: Is North Bengal equipped to handle Covid cases?

5th May 2020

5th May 2020

The West Bengal government it seems has dug itself into a hole on the Covid 19 pandemic with the healthcare workers raising serious concerns about the situation on ground in the state.

The Association of Health Service Doctors (AHSD), based in Kolkata, has fired a letter to the state government questioning why confirmed Covid cases across North Bengal are being brought to Siliguri, “without any valid logic in spite of presence of designated covid hospitals in those districts.” The clear implication is that Covid facilities in North Bengal probably are flimsy, if they do exist at all.

The AHSD are squarely blaming one Dr Susanta Ray, Senior Medical Officer, who is the entrusted liaison officer, for Covid cases in North Bengal.

As per the letter, Dr. Ray is accused of “undesirable and irrational interventions” besides accused of “high-handedness” towards scientific management of Covid in North Bengal districts. Further, his acts are said to have caused “serious discontent and grievance amongst frontline doctors and supporting staff.” Dr Ray, an ophthalmologist, is accused of impinging on the “independence of health administrations…thus motivating the precious workforce.”

Meanwhile in a letter to Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of Bengal, who also holds the health portfolio, Kailash Vijayvargiya, national general secretary, BJP has pointed out serious discrepancy in state health bulletins with regard to data. For example, “Alipurduar is shown to have no cases while media reports claim there are 4 positive cases already in the district,” claims Vijayvargiya, adding that Paschim Bardhaman district is displayed to have no fatality while one death had been admitted by state chief secretary himself in a press conference last month.  Many such anomalies are alleged by Vijayvargiya in his letter.

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