Covid situation might turn grim if vaccine supply not augmented in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee tells PM

By Express News Service

KOLKATA: The Centre is providing more Covid vaccine doses to BJP-ruled states, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Thursday alleged in a letter to PM Narendra Modi. 

Raising the vaccine shortage issue in the state, she said the state is administering less than half of its vaccination capacity despite having a very high population density and a higher rate of urbanisation.

Last week, the Kolkata High Court directed the Bengal government and Centre to provide details of Covid vaccine supply and inoculation of people in the state. The bench directed the Union government to provide details of vaccine supply to Bengal as well as to other states.

“I am sorry to say that the central government is providing a large number of vaccine doses to states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka which are BJP ruled. I have no problem if they or any other state for that matter receives a higher number of vaccine doses, but I cannot remain a mute spectator to see Bengal being deprived,” she wrote.

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She added that Bengal has so far managed to administer 3.08 crore Covid vaccines, of which 2.20 crore people have been administered with the first dose and 88.93 lakh people with the second dose. Bengal is the best in the country in the utilisation of vaccines with minus 7% wastage.

In the two-page letter, Mamata wrote, “Bengal at present is administering 4 lakh doses while the state is capable of administering 11 lakh doses per day. Yet, we are getting a much lower number of doses despite having a very high population density and a higher rate of urbanisation.”    

Sources in the state health department said West Bengal has around 52 lakh doses at present.

On several occasions in the past, Mamata wrote to Modi seeking more vaccine doses and she alleged repeatedly that the Bengal was being deprived by the Centre in terms of vaccines received. 

“You may be aware that Covid-19 cases are increasing in Sikkim, Assam and North-Eastern states. West Bengal has three international borders and is also a gateway to North-Eastern states. Therefore, as a special precautionary measure, it is essential that West Bengal is provided with the required 14 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines,” said Mamata.