In a week, two tragedies struck Bengal, claiming over 230 lives. In the first incident last Friday, 93 people were killed in a fire at a Kolkata hospital. On Thursday, more than 140 people died after consuming toxic liquor in South 24 Parganas.
The incidents, coming seven months after Mamata Banerjee assumed power, could have been avoided by diligent administration. The fire in the AMRI Hospital could have been averted, or at least controlled, if there had been proper and regular checks of hospitals by the health department, while strong policing and good health-care facilities would have avoided the free flow of spurious liquor and the resultant deaths.
Neither measure needs big funding, but only a change in the mindset of officials. Banerjee, who has been seeking a special financial package from the Centre for Bengal, would do well to remember that more than funds, it is the attitude and work ethic of government staff that is important to ensure the safety and welfare of people. Unfortunately for Bengal, only the party in power seems to have changed, not the mindset of the people in government. It is time the Trinamool Congress realised this and set its house in order.
To put it plainly, the honeymoon period for Banerjee’s administration is over. She has to start tackling the hard realities and address the lacunae in administration. She must remember that she can’t blame the Left anymore.