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Fake vaccines

The overwhelming ignorance during the period when the camp thrived ought to stump the health department authorities at Nabanna.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Quite the most distressing facet to the potentially mortal resurgence of Covid-19 is the emergence of illegal vaccination camps in Kolkata’s Kasba area. Most particularly the fact that these have sprouted in the vicinity of a civic health clinic ~ so-called ~ where the number of people in the queue would outnumber the available vaccines.

The ignorance about its existence is as contrived as it is collective not the least because Kasba police station is 1.5 km from the “camp”. Such suspicions are bound to deepen as the illegal camp was organised barely 150 metres from the office of the KMC ward coordinator.

The jab centre thrived on fake shots and yet reports suggest that there isn’t a single civic official who was privy to the illegality, wholly criminal.

Horror of horrors, the police had no knowledge about the camp as well as others organised by the accused, a certain Debanjan Deb. Posing as an IAS officer and a joint commissioner of KMC, he had the cheek to put up flexes and boards to proclaim the vaccination centre and embellish these with the KMC’s emblem.

In the wake of the news-break on Thursday, there is considerable consternation among residents over the ignorance of the civic authorities as well as of the local police. Hundreds of people were being “vaccinated” each day and when the health clinics of the civic body were facing a crippling shortage of vaccines. It is difficult to believe that no one found anything suspicious.

Such suspicions were aroused rather late in the day when it was learnt that the KMC had not organised any such camps. A KMC official said: “After we were informed about the camp, one of our officers went there. His phone was taken away before he was allowed to enter. He came out and reported that the KMC logo was being used at the camp. As we enquired further, we came to know that the corporation had not organised any such camp.”

The overwhelming ignorance during the period when the camp thrived ought to stump the health department authorities at Nabanna. It is pretty obvious that the prime accused and his henchmen were exploiting the endemic dearth of vaccines. And this afforded an opportunity to make a fast buck amidst the crisis.

Any investigation that may be commissioned ought to be riveted to the role of the principal accused, how the KMC’s emblem came to be used, and how the Kasba police station and KMC offices in the area were ignorant of the canker that permeated the public health system. Not to put too fine a point on it, the accused had been playing with fire in the midst of a catastrophe in West Bengal and further afield in India and beyond. The public, we trust, will be informed about the findings of the probe. Extending the lockdown is not the singular solution.