Tuesday, 28 June, 2022
HomeIndiaMamata Banerjee hits the streets to spread Covid-19 awareness, but forgets social...

Mamata Banerjee hits the streets to spread Covid-19 awareness, but forgets social distancing

Mamata tours hospitals & markets as part of her awareness drive, accompanied by a team of govt officials and police officers, and a posse of mediapersons.

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Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been at the forefront of efforts to promote social distancing in the state to check the spread of Covid-19. However, in doing so, she has often ended up violating the lockdown norms herself.

Mamata has undertaken a tour of hospitals, a night shelter and wholesale and retail markets as part of her awareness drive. Through it all, she has been accompanied by a team of administration and police officers, besides a media posse filming her excursions. Then there are the crowds that gather everywhere the chief minister goes, leading the Opposition to lash out at her for mounting “publicity stunts” in violation of key prevention advisories.

Social distancing norms advised for Covid-19 prevention call for a minimum distance of 1 metre between people at all times — the disease is known to be transmitted through droplets released when one sneezes and coughs, and this distance is meant to ensure people around a possible patient avoid any immediate risk.

The Trinamool Congress has been dismissive of the criticism lobbed at Mamata for the violations, saying she could never be a “silent spectator” to people’s suffering. 

Also Read: Bengal’s first COVID-19 patient evaded test for 2 days while IAS mother met top officials

CM’s visits during lockdown 

On Friday, Banerjee went to the Kalighat night shelter for to inspect the conditions there. She also distributed rice, pulses and potatoes among the people living there.

A day before, she visited five markets to check the supply of essential commodities amid the lockdown that kicked in Wednesday. 

Flanked by the commissioner of police, director of CM’s security, and other senior officials, she went around interacting with shop owners and pedestrians, asking them about the prevailing situation. She also drew circles outside shops to convey the optimum distance required between people in a queue to observe social distancing. 

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee draws circles at a Kolkata market to emphasise social distancing
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee draws circles at a Kolkata market to emphasise social distancing | Ashok Nath Dey | ThePrint

In the process, she attracted a big crowd. 

On Tuesday, she took a tour of around seven medical facilities, where she met doctors and health professionals to hand over boxes of masks, sanitisers and gloves, and enquired about the situation. 

Accompanying her to the hospitals — RG Kar College and Hospital, Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, NRS Medical College and Hospital, Beleghata ID Hospital, SSKM Hospital, M.R. Bangur Hospital and the quarantine centre in Rajarhat-Newtown — was a battery of camera-persons on her tail, with party workers and curious onlookers crowding in there too. Some onlookers even tried to come close to her in attempts to get a selfie with her.

All her visits were televised, besides being livestreamed on Facebook by her social media team. While she had her mouth and nose covered with a piece of cloth at some places, she opted for a mask at other sites. At some places, she chose not to cover her mouth or nose at all.  

লক ডাউন চলাকালীন সাধারণ মানুষের যাতে কোনোরকম অসুবিধা না হয় এবং এই পরিস্থিতে মানুষের পাশাপাশি পশুপাখিদের রক্ষা করা সংক্রান্ত বিষয় খতিয়ে দেখতে রফি আহমেদ কিদোয়াই রোড সংলগ্ন এলাকা পরিদর্শন

Mamata Banerjee यांनी वर पोस्ट केले गुरुवार, २६ मार्च, २०२०

লক ডাউন চলাকালীন সাধারণ মানুষের যাতে খাদ্য সামগ্রী সংগ্রহ করতে অসুবিধা না হয়, এবং করোনা এড়াতে বাজারে যাতে সবরকম সতর্কতা অবলম্বন করা হয় সেই সংক্রান্ত বিষয় খতিয়ে দেখতে লেক মার্কেট পরিদর্শন

Mamata Banerjee यांनी वर पोस्ट केले गुरुवार, २६ मार्च, २०२०

Also Read: Health minister rebuts Mamata claim: Bengal has conducted under 10% of 2,500 tests available

‘Is the CM of Kerala running around?’

Through her tenure as chief minister, Mamata has been known to function with an alleged lack of confidence in administrative officers, often stepping into the field herself when issues such as price rise have come up or any natural calamity strikes.

A senior civil servant from West Bengal said it was clear Mamata’s sole intention was to mitigate the suffering of people, but added that stricter implementation of the lockdown was the need of the hour. 

Rajya Sabha MP-designate and former Kolkata mayor Bikash Bhattacharya of the CPI(M) called Mamata’s behaviour a “mockery of the lockdown”. 

“She is routinely discrediting her administration. What point does she want to prove? Is she trying to establish that there is no administration in her government?” he said. “Is she trying to say that the senior officers and other civic and police personnel do not know how to draw circles? If a chief minister needs to come out on the roads and do this time and again, one can understand what type of governance we are left with.” 

He said other leaders were working too, but in observance of lockdown norms. “All the other chief ministers are working, the PM is also working from home. There are several states like Kerala that are working more efficiently. Has anybody seen the CM of Kerala running around the city and pulling off such publicity stunts?” 

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said the party had been claiming for a “long time that there is no administration and no governance in Bengal”. 

“Our chief minister is proving us right. In which state is the chief minister going out to draw circles and ask vendors how they sell their produce?” Ghosh added.

The Trinamool Congress, however, defended Mamata’s conduct. “We all are seeing that our leader is risking her life, exposing herself to the threat of coronavirus… But she can never be a silent spectator,” said party MP Sougata Roy. “She is moving around to get things right and to boost the morale of the people.”

As of Friday evening, India had recorded 724 cases of Covid-19, with West Bengal accounting for 10 cases. There’s been one Covid-19 fatality in the state, while the national toll is 19.

Also Read: India’s leadership during COVID-19: Modi’s thali plan and Rahul Gandhi’s no plan




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  1. No it wasnt the case. Headline is distorting! She infact explained to the masses the concept of Social Distancing.

  2. This issue has many ramifications.
    First what the opposition are saying need be digested. IF they were in Mamata s position, what would they do with a timid, hybrid administration and a public looking for leadership qualities from leaders. What more can the CM do and if by doing these all, she scores brownie points, so be it. The vegetable vendor learnt, the public learnt…..now whether they enact social distancing or not is their intelligence and common sense. The CM can only show the way, she can only lead and so the question is begged if this the correct leadership for the occasion.
    What did Churchill do~ he was 5 days ahead of schedule in decision making during WWII. Anyone emulating in the world today…~you choose.
    So many descriptions can be given but once the current push comes to a possible SHOVE, whilst dying or suffering or recovering, we shall surely recall our leaders and curse them as best as we can for aggravating a situation from bad to worse and worst……I dont grudge Mamatadidi for what she did and how or why….a leader has different ways, like Naveenji in Odisha, Mamata i WB to name a very few. You can call them eccentric but not inhuman in the circumstances . Regards

  3. This is like the husband washing the dishes [insert appropriate domestic activity] only in front of the wife / partner. If no one saw you do something, did it actually happen?

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