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Mamata blasts Sovan for dengue delay

- Chief minister tells mayor she is ‘unhappy’ with civic body’s response to outbreak

The chief minister summoned mayor Sovan Chatterjee to Writers’ Buildings on Tuesday and told him she was “unhappy” with the way the Calcutta Municipal Corporation had handled the dengue outbreak, a source said.

During the nearly two-hour meeting in her chamber, Mamata Banerjee reportedly criticised the role of the mayor, mayoral council member (health) Atin Ghosh and municipal commissioner Khalil Ahmed since the outbreak of the vector-borne disease that has killed at least 12 people in Calcutta.

The official toll, however, stands at five since September 7.

Mamata is also said to have told the mayor and other representatives of the civic body that they had misled her by providing wrong facts and figures related to the fight against dengue. “Jotto sab bhulbhal…. Ke aapnader ato taratari sankhya dite bolechhilo (Totally wrong… Who had asked you to give out figures in a hurry)?” a source quoted Mamata as saying.

The chief minister had said on Friday, based on inputs from the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, that civic volunteers had visited 12 lakh households to spread awareness about dengue. Later, it emerged that the city did not have so many households.

“The mayor and his team told the chief minister that the list had included multiple visits but she was unhappy with the explanation,” the source said.

Mamata, according to the sources, expressed resentment at the way the civic body’s name was being dragged into “so many issues”. It was, however, unclear which other “issues” she was referring to, apart from dengue.

Mamata’s snub to the mayor came on the day governor M.K. Narayanan spoke out against the authorities’ delay in taking steps to contain the outbreak. “The situation is now under control but some of the steps could have been taken earlier. Now, these steps are being taken. Okay,” Narayanan said on the sidelines of a programme at Victoria Memorial on Tuesday morning. The governor said he had spoken to health secretary Sanjay Mitra about the government’s response to the outbreak.

On Friday, Mamata had blamed the Trinamul-run civic body’s “negligence” for the spread of dengue. “CMC-r ekta negligence to hoyechhe. Vector drive February-March theke shuru kortey hobey, April-May tey giye korley hobey na. Ekhon ora onekta thik korey niyechhe (The CMC sure was negligent. You need to start the vector-control drive in February-March. Starting it in April-May won’t help. They have rectified it to a large extent),” the chief minister had said on Friday.

nDeath: A four-year-old boy from Ekbalpore, Chetan Bhagat, died at Chittaranjan Shishu Sadan on Monday night after suffering from symptoms similar to that of haemorrhagic dengue.

“The boy was admitted to our hospital on September 6 with haemorrhagic dengue-like symptoms. He had tested positive in the NS1 antigen test. He went into a shock and died at 11.15pm on Monday before we could conduct the MAC-ELISA test (confirmatory dengue scan),” said a hospital official.