Kolkata: As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in West Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee government has started reaching out to infected citizens to boost their morale.
The councillors and police personnel in West Bengal capital Kolkata are delivering fruit baskets in person to those who have tested positive for the virus with a “get well soon” message from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The baskets comprise fruits that are believed to boost immunity such as oranges, sweet lemons, kiwis, grapes and pomegranates, local councillor Md Jasimuddin told ANI. The state government has ordered 10,000 of these fruit baskets.
There were 89,194 active Covid cases in Kolkata as of Monday, which saw 19,286 fresh infections.
Those who have received the fruit baskets include Dr Sukanta Majumdar, BJP’s state unit president, and Narayan Chatterjee, a BJP leader from Kolkata.
The chief minister’s fruit basket was also hand-delivered to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly’s daughter Sana, who tested positive for the virus last week. Last Saturday, Ganguly’s wife Dona had received the basket from the ward councillor at her residence.
What recipients said
In a Facebook post, West Bengal BJP chief Majumdar said he “would have been happier if the political courtesy that she has shown was also shown towards the prime minister by her”.
He was seemingly referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtual inauguration of the second campus of the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) in Kolkata last Friday.
After the inauguration, Mamata had said: “The prime minister virtually inaugurated the project. But I would like to inform the PM that we had already inaugurated it earlier during the outbreak of the pandemic when we needed a Covid centre. It helped us a lot. This institute is associated with the state government as well.”
Chatterjee, meanwhile, took to social media to thank the chief minister and the ward councillor for the gesture, adding that none from the BJP had enquired about his health so far.
Covid cases on the rise
The initiative comes as West Bengal, like the rest of the country, battles a fresh Covid surge. On 9 January, West Bengal recorded the highest number of Covid–19 cases in a single day — 24,287 — since the pandemic hit the country in 2020.
The CM, while addressing a news conference on 7 January, reiterated that the state doesn’t want to impose any restrictions that could impact livelihoods.
“The next 15 days are very crucial for the state. If the numbers don’t go down, we will have to add more restrictions and we don’t want that to happen,” Mamata had said while urging people to wear masks and adhere to Covid protocols.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)