Kolkata: In the wake of the imposition of a lockdown across the state to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has demanded that the central and the state governments ensure that the mistakes made during the previous lockdown not be repeated. The party, in a press release, said that the government must reach out to the people affected by the crisis with medical and financial assistance.
The West Bengal government on Saturday announced a 14-day lockdown starting from May 16, closing down public as well as private modes of transport and offices barring essential services. The state has been witnessing an upward trajectory in terms of the number of fresh COVID-19 cases and deaths -- with the cases crossing the 20,000 mark daily and the positivity remaining above 30%. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, too, recently lost her younger brother to the infection.
Against the backdrop of this overall grim situation, in a press release, the CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra appealed to the people to stand with those affected by the deteriorating crisis as people across the country continue to lose their near and dear ones. Holding the BJP-led central government and TMC-led state government responsible for the devastation, Mishra asserted that the task of increasing testing and offering medical assistance needs to be taken up on war footing.
The press note emphasised the need to speed up the work pertaining to free vaccination with special focus on the second doses. The party has demanded that Rs 7,500 and five kilograms of food grains per month be provided to those who have lost their livelihoods amid the ongoing crisis along with support for small businesspersons, hawkers, casual workers etc. The party also said that work done by volunteers and various NGOs needs to be acknowledged and appreciated. It is also crucial to ensure that their work is not hindered because of the strict lockdown measures in the state.
Reminding both the ruling party and the Centre of their pre-poll promises, the CPI(M) has demanded that financial support be extended to women family heads. Earlier, in its manifesto, TMC had said that if it comes to power, a “Monthly Basic Income” scheme would be implemented whereby the “women heads of families” would be entitled to a stipend of Rs 500-Rs 1,000 per month. It had also promised door-to-door delivery of ration. The Left party said that the current crisis requires that these promises be fulfilled immediately. The press note also appealed to the people to adhere to the COVID-19 protocol to overcome the second wave of the pandemic.