Former Siliguri mayor and senior CPI-M leader Asok Bhattacharya has demanded high-level investigations to see whether people in the priority groups as defined by the government received the Covid vaccines in Siliguri. Mr Bhattacharya also alleged politicization and manipulation of the vaccines, as according to him, some Trinamul Congress leaders helped party people get the vaccines at a time when the common people had been facing problems getting their doses.
“There are charges of partisan, political influence over the Covid-19 vaccination process. Many vaccine doses which were meant for hawkers were given to the ruling party workers and most of them do not belong to that group. This has happened in the civic body-run Urban Primary Health Centres also. A turncoat of the CPI-M who has defected to the Trinamul Congress is engaged in such a practice. I have complained to the Darjeeling district magistrate over such unscrupulous activities,” Mr Bhattacharya told a press conference here today.
He said that in some cases, the recipients of the vaccines had to pay Rs 315 at vaccination camps. “Government-run vaccination camps do not charge from the people, but in some camps the beneficiaries have paid Rs 315 for the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Why will the recipients pay for the doses at government vaccination sites? We are demanding high-level investigations to unearth the fact. At the same time, it also should be looked into whether there were anomalies in providing vaccines,” he added.
Taking a dig at the state government and the nominated board of administrators (BoA) at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Mr Bhattacharya said they had failed to combat the Covid-19-induced situation.
“There has been inaction when charges are levelled against private nursing homes over inflated bills, people are at the receiving end when it comes to having oxygen cylinders, when there is black marketing of life saving drugs. The BoA was tasked to combat the pandemic, but it has failed miserably,” Mr Bhattachayra, a veteran CPI-M leader and former minister, said.
On the other hand, refuting the allegations, Darjeeling district Trinamul Congress (Plains) president and a member of the BoA Ranjan Sarkar said their top priority was combating the Covid-19 situation and widespread vaccination for people.
“We are going ahead with proper planning on how to reach out to a maximum number of people for the vaccination at the earliest. If Mr Bhattacharya has any suggestion, he can give us that,” Mr Sarkar said, when asked to comment on the matter.