The CPI-M has alleged that the state government had come up with the lockdown dates to “derail” the political programmes scheduled by the opposition parties. While the state government has changed the lockdown schedule for the fifth time, the party today said the annual programmes could not be organised properly for the same.
“It appears that the dates of the lockdown have been decided on to curb our political programmes, which the party has been organising over the decades. We could not organise the birth anniversary of one of the pioneers of the Left movement in the country, Muzaffar Ahmed on 5 August properly.
The lockdown also bars us from organising programmes to pay tribute to the martyrs of the 1959 food movement on 31 August. We have discussed the issue at the party’s Darjeeling district secretariat meeting and came to a conclusion that democratic rights continue to be curbed by using the situation as a political import, but we will not remain silent and resort to movement,” said the Darjeeling district party secretary Jibesh Sarkar.
Mr Sarkar said the system the government had adopted for both lockdown and unlocking was “unscientific.” “The way the government has been changing the lockdown dates will not fulfil the purpose,” he said.
Party leaders demanded that in order to upgrade the health infrastructure, a dedicated hospital for severe acute respiratory illness should be arranged for, while they expressed doubts on whether private nursing homes in the district meant for Covid-19 treatment have proper infrastructure to treat the patients.
Opposing the decision to cap private hospital advance deposit at Rs 50,000 for Covid-19 treatment, he said it might open floodgates for private health facilities to make profit. Demanding a considerable increase in tests to determine the spread of Covid-19, the chairperson of the board of administrators of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Asok Bhattacharya, said medical teams should be sent to the tea plantations.
Mr Bhattacharya also raised questions on the logic of broad-based containment zones in four wards under the corporation. On the other hand, Left parties staged a demonstration to protest “attacks unleashed on democracy, democratic rights and on the Indian Constitution” in Siliguri yesterday. Covid cremation charge Family members of persons who die of Covid-19 or suspected patients (Covid-19) will now have to pay Rs 1150 for cremation at Sahudangi, the dedicated crematorium for such cases.
Authorities of the Dabgram-Fulbari cremation centre have issued an order mentioning Rs 1000 as cremation charges and Rs 150 for the bamboo stretcher, effective 15 August. Administrative officials said that being a private agency they used to charge the same fees before Covid-19.
“But later, the cremations of Covid-19 patients started there and they stopped charging any fees, but later they approached us and said they were facing problems in running the crematorium, providing salary to the employees. Therefore, we advised them to take the previous charges,” an official said.