As West Bengal started the COVID-19 vaccination on Saturday like in the rest of the country, a Trinamool Congress leader has caused embarassment to the state government.
TMC MLA Sourav Chakraborty was found to be at the top of the list which contained names of all the COVID warriors who would receive the first doses of vaccine in North Bengal’s Alipurduar, reported Bengali portal The Wall.
It created a massive controversy in the region as soon as the news came out, with common citizens and opposition parties pondering how his name appeared ahead of doctors and other healthcare workers.
Defending himself, the politician claimed to be a health worker who was at the frontline during the pandemic.
“I hold an important position in the Alipurduar’s health department,” Chakraborty was quoted as saying by Bengali portal The Wall.
“During the pandemic, I was at the forefront. That’s why the health department has put my name at the top. I’m honoured for this acknowledgement.”
However, the local health authorities informed later that the Alipurduar MLA decided to remove his name from the list. “First the citizens will receive the vaccine. After everyone gets the shot then I’ll take mine,” he said.
As a chairman of the patients’ welfare department in Alipurduar, Chakraborty’s name was put at the top to pay tribute to his efforts during the pandemic, the local authorities said.
Meanwhile, the opposition lashed out at the incompetence of the district administration. “This vaccination drive is for the COVID warriors. How did Trinamool leader Sourav Chakraborty’s name appear on the list,” wondered Gangaprasad Sharm, BJP’s district secretary in Alipurduar.
Vaccination started at 212 centres across West Bengal on Saturday. A total of 6 lakh frontline workers will receive the Covishield vaccine.
According to Swasthya Bhavan, health officials at different levels alongside the district authorities have been given the responsibility to conduct the vaccination process without any snag.
Reportedly, the first day will witness more than 35,000 healthcare workers in West Bengal receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, created jointly by Oxford and AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
In Kolkata, SSKM Hospital, Kolkata Medical College Hospital, Neel Ratan Sarkar Hospital, R.G. Kar Hospital, School of Tropical Medicine and B.C. Roy Child Hospital have been selected as the vaccination hubs apart from five other KMC-run health centres.