Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], April 21 (ANI): West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Tuesday raised serious questions about the alleged under-reporting of COVID-19 related casualties in the state and added that there was a "distrust" between the healthcare workers and the TMC government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"There is an element of distrust between health warriors and government, it is a worrisome situation. It has been indicated to me by medical practitioners, their associations that they do not understand why there is an audit committee to declare COVID-19 deaths. This is unheard of, why should anyone cover it up, why should our figures not be believed?" Dhankar told ANI here.
"Reports are appearing globally that we are sitting on a volcano, that we are under-testing and our medical fraternity is under stress. Our health infrastructure is not coping with it," he added.
Dhankar also said that the full potential of the testing facilities in West Bengal is yet to be made by the government and that the state is lagging behind the national average in the number of tests.
"We are 7 per cent of the population of the country. Till yesterday, our performance was about 25-30 per cent of the national average for testing. It means our testing was abysmally low, we need to increase it. There is no point in finding faults, it is the time to overlook lapses of everyone. There are enough testing kits, a dozen laboratories, we also have ICMR-NICED whose potential has not been fully put to use," the Governor said.
He also said that he was deeply pained by the farmers in the state not getting the amount announced by the Prime Minister under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi because of the TMC government not sending the data of 70,000 farmers.
"I appeal to the government now to send the data of the farmers, as I have done earlier too," Dhankar said.
As per the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday evening, there are 392 confirmed COVID-19 cases in West Bengal, including 73 patients who have been cured and discharged. While 12 people have lost their lives due to the infection so far.
The Union Home Ministry has also directed the West Bengal government to extend cooperation to, and allow smooth functioning of, the two Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) deputed by the Centre to assess the lockdown situation and compliance in the state.
Prior to this, the state health department of West Bengal had accused the Centre of sending faulty NIV test kits and had said that they are forcing officials to opt for multiple COVID-19 tests of patients. (ANI)