Blow after blow

Blow after blow

The tragic loss of human lives occurs with brutal regularity in India. But reports of over 140 people dying near Kolkata after consuming toxic bootleg liquor, coming on the heels of a smouldering blaze in a super-speciality hospital that killed 94 people in the same city, is testimony to eroding human security in West Bengal, whose chief minister Mamata Banerjee had boasted to pull the state out of the social and economic morass which it had sunk into during the Left Front’s misrule. Death and human disasters appear to be lurking in not just top-notch hospitals for Bengal’s upwardly mobile, but even at illicit liquor dens and government healthcare facilities where, slightly over a month ago, scores of infants died after contracting deadly infections. Human lives come dirt cheap in a country with delusions of greatness.

For all her bravado and braggadochio, Banerjee’s tenure as chief minister has been rather ordinary. Before assuming the mantle of power, Banerjee made tall promises of changing the face of Bengal and resurrecting the state to new heights of glory and grandeur. She had promised that in the first 200 years, her government would launch a programme to build a four-tier healthcare infrastructure based on the “hub and spoke model” -- a moronic conception that none has any clue about. In the same time span, the braggart in her promised to transform a crumbling Kolkata into a city comparable to London. There were other grandeloquent plans for the poor and the marginalised: those at the bottom of the pile will be specially empowered, her party manifesto claimed. Rhetoric comes easily to Banerjee.

Lives are snuffed out as easily. Compensations are declared, a few arrests are made and then it is back to more rhetoric. In much of Bengal, as in other parts of India, the system of public service is plagued by a complete lack of accountability. Government agencies are ill-equipped or unwilling to provide even basic public services or regulate the burgeoning private and the unruly organised sectors. The deaths at AMRI Hospitals or in the seedy hooch dens of South 24 Parganas could have been avoided had safety standards been adhered to and excise inspectors and the police enforced the law. Bengal’s condition, sadly, is like one-time Bihar which was symptomatic of an incurable malaise. But in Bengal ‘the amount of human suffering is almost unethical, because it can be prevented.’ Banerjee, take notice.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)