Tit For Tat Politics

AFTER news emerged that the Centre had issued a show cause notice under the Disaster Management Act to the former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, a fresh war of words erupted between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP in this unseemly tussle between the state and the Centre. Tit for tat politics continued to corner state politics even at the time of disaster struck the Bengal coast in the form of cyclone Yaas. The show cause notice was sent to him specifically as the review meeting of cyclone Yaas, the officer’s act of abstaining himself from the meeting amounted to violation of the Act and dereliction of his duties. Just to avoid accountability he retired from his duties abruptly as he was in the shadows of the CM.  It was the presence of the Nandigram MLA at the meeting called by the Prime Minister to review the situation on May 28 in the aftermath of cyclone Yaas that had irked the Chief Minister in the first place. The CM faced defeat at the hands of Suvendu. Both the parties should leave the differences aside and work for the state at this hour. It must also get used to the reality of losing elections in a democracy. This particular saga is likely to drag on forever.


Covid Numbers Coming Down

AND so, here we are, in yet another lockdown. The results are encouraging. The chain of transmission seems to be weakening, at least in Mumbai, where the numbers have fallen precipitously. That is by itself a reason for commending the initiative. But what after the lockdown is lifted and we all go back to our normal activities to the extent possible? What happens when markets, shopping malls, places of entertainment, gyms, hair and beauty salons, public transport and offices open up again? The only option therefore available to the State Government is to pursue vaccinating the people at the fastest pace possible. There is a shortage of vaccines now. But that is not likely to persist forever. What then is needed in the short term is to create channels whereby vaccinations can be administered quickly as and when the availability improves. The Government must create a campaign on the lines of what was done for polio – harness all social organisations to conduct camps so that vaccines are made available at people’s doorsteps. After all, when the Adhaar card can be made mandatory despite the law stating that it is not so, vaccinations too can be insisted upon. In the long run, vaccinations are the only way out and the sooner we address that issue the better.


Ramp Up Health Infrastructure

WITH the specter of a third wave looming large over the state, it is essential that the government revamps its COVID-management strategies in order to effectively ward off the threats posed by the mutating virus. Moreover, with possibilities that in such an event children risk the chances of getting affected more, the state will have to start taking extra steps to minimise the impact. With neigbouring Maharashtra already witnessing an unusual spike in the number of infections among children, Goa will have to be extra vigilant in this matter. Besides, with reports about COVID-19 infections and treatment making the immune system vulnerable to a host of other diseases which could soon assume pandemic proportions, it makes the job all the more tougher for the state government. And with allegations of politics being played over every aspect of the disease, its control and treatment, it is going to be an uphill task from here on. With confusion reigning supreme in the procurement and administering of vaccines for various age-groups, the floundering vaccination drive has only evoked lukewarm response for anti-COVID jabs in the state. The vague explanations and medical recommendations notwithstanding, the misperception over the ‘unusual’ delay between the two doses of the vaccination has further thrown a ring of uncertainty over the whole programme. If in response to a PIL, the Bombay High Court at Goa has to ask the government to elicit the steps it is taking on a host of issues concerning COVID management in the state including its plans for vaccination and the treatment protocols, it goes to show the confidence the public has had in the state’s combat policies against COVID-19 so far. While not denying that the much-needed augmentation of medical infrastructure for COVID treatment proposed by the state is quite a realistic and justifiable a demand, a lack of proper planning and execution has been a terrible let down. Hence the contention that the state government should be making a rethink on its earlier anti-COVID tactics!