Blood banks in north Bengal are reeling under an acute shortage of blood, and health experts said that if the situation continues for some more days, the crisis will be more acute during the panchayat elections.

Six north Bengal districts of Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Cooch Behar, Malda, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur will go to the polls on 5 May. There are 13 government blood banks under the Regional Blood Transfusion Centre (RBTC) at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital- -Siliguri District Hospital, Kurseong Sub-divisional Hospital, Darjeeling District Hospital, Kalimpong District Hospital, Islampur, Raiganj, Balurghat, Gangarampur, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Malda, and MJN hospitals (in Cooch Behar district).

“All the blood banks faced the crisis during the Madhyamik examinations last month. The crisis has surfaced as hardly any blood donation camp has been held in the recent past,” said RBTC director Dr Mridumay Das. Officials said blood of the negative groups is mostly in short supply.

“If blood donation camps are not held immediately, the crisis may be felt during the rural polls also. There has been almost no stock of blood belonging to the negative groups. Madhyamik examinations have just ended, while Higher Secondary and other examinations are going on. Therefore, announcements through loudspeakers to make people aware of blood donation camps are not allowed. Generally, voluntary organistaions and political parties organise such camps. The camps could have eased the shortage,” an official said.

According to the stock chart at the RBTC on Monday, there is no unit of A- and B- blood, one unit left for AB- and two units of O-, while there are 11 units of O+, 14 units of AB+, 15 units of B+ and 19 units of A+.

Dr Das said that around 100 units of blood are supplied from the RBTC to the different health facilities, and the daily requirement of the NBMCH is around 60-70 units.

He said police here organised some blood camps which helped the facility to some extent. Sources at the RBTC said that around 500 units of blood, with at least 20 units each of all positive groups, are considered an ideal stock.