Mamata tells districts magistrates to ensure no one starves during the lockdown

Published : March 30, 2020 21:53 IST

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee holding a coronavirus review meeting in Kolkata on March 30. Photo: PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed the district magistrates (DMs) of all the districts in the State to ensure that every single person gets adequate food during the three-week lockdown ordered by the Centre to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In a video conference on March 30 with the DMs, superintendents of police (SPs) and chief medical officers of health (CMOH) in the districts, Mamata said, “Let the doctors and nurses face no problems in discharging their duties and let no person die of starvation. I am repeatedly saying this to the DMs and SPs.” She also told the district administration to ameliorate the problems of migrant labourers, both from within the State and from outside, stranded because of the lockdown. “Make sure that those labourers whose factories have shut down do not have to starve. The DMs may start community kitchens in such places and provide them with food,” she said. Sending a stern message to the district heads, Mamata said, “This is not the time to do shortcut work. Do not take the easy way out.”

Taking stock of the health service scenario in all the districts, the Chief Minister directed that every district should have at least one hospital dedicated to treating only COVID-19 patients. “These hospitals should be set up away from a populated place and should have separate entrance and exits for people who have not been infected,” she said. She instructed the administration to explore various means to create more space for patients and beds. “Make sure that the doctors and nurses have a comfortable place to stay and face no problems in commuting,” she said.

She also announced that the insurance for doctors and health workers treating COVID-19 patients haD been increased from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.10 lakh, and the insurance benefits would now include private health/sanitation/allied workers and their families as well as the police.

Pointing out that borders between States had been sealed, Mamata asked the district administration to remain vigilant and ensure there was no movement across the borders. For some of those regions sharing international borders with Bangladesh (particularly Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur, Murshidabad and Siliguri), she urged the district officials to be particularly alert. “Make sure that nobody enters,” she said.