Tribune News Service
Kolkata, November 24
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said West Bengal was fully ready to launch the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the state.
The Chief Minister said West Bengal was fully prepared with trained manpower and required infrastructure (including cold chain) for the vaccination drive.
“We are ready to work with central government and all other stakeholders to ensure speedy and universal vaccination for everyone as soon as the vaccine is available,” the Chief Minister said.
Taking part in a meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with chief ministers of various states to discuss the COVID-19 situation through video conferencing, Banerjee said the entire nation was now looking forward to an early vaccination programme.
The Chief Minister said West Bengal government was ready to join the Union Government and all stakeholders for a comprehensive battle against the pandemic.
Banerjee, who is said to be upset over the central government treating West Bengal as among the states reporting a surge in Covid cases, claimed success in containing Covid in the state despite major festivals and resumption of the mass public transport system.
She said the onset of the Durgapuja-Kalipuja-Chath puja season saw festivities in the state. Sub-urban train operations have also resumed here to facilitate commuting by common people. Yet, West Bengal has been successful in reducing the infection and the death rate, she said.
Notably, West Bengal, where the infection rate had touched over 4,000 daily and deaths had peaked to over 60 every day, has been witnessing a steady decline in these figures. The state reported 47 Covid deaths and 3,557 fresh infections on Monday (November 23). The recovery rate was 92.80 per cent while the number of the sample tested was 42,367.
The corresponding figure on October 23 was 60 deaths and 4,143 fresh cases. The recovery rate was 87.45 per cent. The number of samples tested on October 23 was 44,582.
Banerjee pointed out that people from neighbouring states also come to West Bengal for treatment and they were never turned away. Under the circumstances West Bengal has been performing “remarkably well” when compared with similarly placed metropolitan regions of the country, she said.
Mamata, however, said that release of adequate funds by the central government would have been a welcome step but this was not being done. “The dues on account of GST compensation to the tune of Rs 8,500 crore have accumulated for West Bengal,” she said and added that expenses were increasing on all fronts.
The state has already spent around Rs 4,000 crore on account of Covid management but till now GOI has released only Rs 193 crore for this purpose, Mamata complained.
Taking a dig at Union Home Minister Amit Shah (Shah was present at the meeting with Modi), who recently toured Bengal, Banerjee said rallies and political one-upmanship should be avoided at the time pandemic.