West Bengal’s unpreparedness to handle the coronavirus crisis was exposed once again after Calcutta News reported that five returning migrant workers have been quarantined in an abandoned public toilet in Ward No 79 of Taratala, Kolkata, by the Mamata Banerjee government.
According to the local news channel, when approached, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation denied any such occurrence, but visuals of migrants being placed in the erstwhile bathroom, along with their belongings, have been captured on camera by Calcutta News. The migrant workers have been placed in the abandoned public toilet of Taratala Godagacha, which is a densely populated area of the state capital.
The visuals show the migrant workers housed in a public toilet which has been abandoned for a long time. The fixtures in the toilets and bathrooms are broken and the entire facility filled with garbage. The report also mentioned that although power connection was restored after it was the workers spent 24 hours at the quarantine centre set up in the public toilet, it does not have any fan. This means that the quarantined people will have to spend 14 days in such an inhuman condition.
As soon as this news became public, irate locals took to the street, protesting against the government, reported Calcutta News.
The indifference in the West Bengal government’s attitude toward the migrant workers have received flak from Congress leader Abdul Mannan, has accused Mamata Banerjee of showing utter disrespect toward these individuals. He questions the decision of turning the abandoned toilets into a quarantine centre while numerous schools and colleges of the state are standing empty at the moment, as all classes have been stalled for now.
These buildings could have been used as isolation facilities for these destitute individuals, opined the Congress MLA, furthering that this decision has exposed the inhumane side of the TMC government, led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Calcutta News removed by Cable operators for critising state govt
It may be noted that Calcutta News has been facing the ire of the Mamata Banerjee government for exposing the mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic by the state administration. The Channel was blocked by all cable operators in Kolkata and nearby areas. West Bengal BJP termed it as an undeclared emergency in Bengal. They said that after gag order on mainstream media and arrests of Social Media activists, now the channel has been banned as it it has been taken off air by all MSOs.
The channel had confirmed that it was under the attack of state government. They updated the banner image in their social media accounts to inform that their channel was off the air from some areas not due to some technical issue, but due to attack from the state government.
I am helpless, there is nothing I can do
Expressing her utter helplessness to stop coronavirus cases in the state, the Bengal CM stated yesterday: “It is not in my hands any more. Now I have nothing to do. You can sleep with corona by your side. Make it your pillow. I am sorry.”
West Bengal has recorded 5130 cases of coronavirus as of date. 309 people have died in the state so far. 18 out of 22 districts have recorded coronavirus cases. Kolkata has the highest number of cases, followed by North 24 Parganas. Both regions were also badly affected by cyclone Amphan.
Blames migrant workers for increase in coronavirus cases
However, this decision to place migrant workers in public toilets does not come as a surprise as the apathy of the Mamata Banerjee’s government towards them had become evident when she had claimed that the number of coronavirus cases is increasing in the state due to the incoming of the migrant workers and termed the Shramik trains bringing back thousands of labourers of her own state to their homes, as ‘Corona Express’.
Center accused Mamata Banerjee of not cooperating in dealing with migrant worker crisis
Earlier, the Home Minister Amit Shah had levelled serious allegations against the Mamata Banerjee government that they are not supporting the Centre in resolving the migrant crisis. Indian Railways had echoed similar sentiments.
Earlier, reports had emerged that suggested that the Mamata Banerjee government had abandoned the stranded tourists stuck in Uttarakhand as the state government had been unresponsive despite repeated requests that have been made by the migrants.