Patna: RJD leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav has slammed the Nitish Kumar government for its “miserable failure” in managing the Covid-19 pandemic and the migrant workers crisis.
In an interview to ThePrint Friday, Yadav said, “The government has basic responsibilities — providing treatment, allotting quarantine centres and bringing the migrant workers back home. However, not even one of these have been managed properly.”
He alleged that the workers have returned after months of struggle, but are now being exposed to Covid-19 risks.
“There are no social distancing norms at transit centres. The condition of the quarantine centres is worsening day by day as the government is not able to manage the influx. Migrant workers aren’t provided with basic facilities like food and clean water,” he said, adding that nothing has been done to develop Bihar’s health infrastructure since Nitish Kumar came to power.
In 2015, Kumar had formed the government in alliance with RJD and Congress, and with Yadav as his deputy. However, the alliance broke within months and the CM went back to his old ally BJP to retain the chief ministerial chair.
In his comments, Yadav also criticised the government’s alleged lax approach in Covid-19 testing.
“The Bihar government’s testing approach is extremely casual. Even a state like Haryana is doing far better than Bihar. It is now clear that the Bihar government has no willingness to save its people. It is treating the migrant workers as second-class citizens,” he added.
We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.
Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.
“Nitish Kumar was careless during the chamki fever (encephalitis) outbreak and is now repeating the same carelessness over and over again,” he said.
During the interview, Tejashwi Yadav also criticised the Nitish Kumar government for transferring IAS officer Sanjay Kumar, who was handling the Covid-19 crisis in the state, from the office of the principal health secretary to the tourism department earlier this week.
He said the move says a lot about the government’s lack of transparency and mismanagement.
“The captain of the ship was replaced in the middle of a war — the Covid war — at a time when Bihar is witnessing a tremendous surge in Covid cases. Isn’t it obvious that there is a hidden agenda behind his transfer?” he said.
“If Sanjay was wrong in dealing with the crisis, then why let him manage the crisis for two months? Doesn’t it say a lot about the loopholes in the Nitish government?” asked the RJD leader.
The leader of opposition further alleged that the officer was transferred because he didn’t kneel in front of the government’s “lobby of bureaucrats” and “dictatorship”.
On Wednesday, Yadav had alleged that Sanjay Kumar was made to pay the price for suspending the microbiology department chief in Patna’s Nalanda Medical College and Hospital.
Amidst rough midsea, the captain is being replaced who most likely would struggle navigating in right direction.
Although it’s govt’s prerogative to appoint officers, I think he paid the price of suspending HOD-Microbiology, NMCH who is Nitish Ji’s close relative. https://t.co/4BGAn3aqP3
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) May 20, 2020
He told ThePrint that Sanjay’s decision didn’t go down well with Nitish Kumar as the HOD comes from the same village as the Bihar CM and is also a close relative. “One of the other reasons is that Sanjay was extremely transparent,” Yadav added.
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.