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Health holds back CM

Mamata Banerjee entering Writers’ on Thursday afternoon. A Telegraph picture

Workaholic Mamata Banerjee spent barely five hours in the state secretariat on Thursday but doctors said she hadn’t recovered enough from illness to return to work, much less her normal grind of eight to nine hours at Writers’.

Sources said Mamata held only two meetings in her chamber during her five hours there. She had reached Writers’ Buildings around 1.45pm and stepped out at 6.45 pm.

On her way out, Mamata admitted she wasn’t feeling fit. “I am still not feeling good. I am going through six therapies a day. I will take some time to recover,” she said.

The chief minister, who has on several occasions extolled the benefits of walking and was a regular on the treadmill prior to her illness, used the VIP lift to the first floor and back.

“This is unusual. The CM never takes the lift to reach the portico. She prefers the stairs. Today was the first occasion I saw her using the lift to come down,” an official said.

While the chief minister followed a featherweight schedule by her standards on her second day since returning from a health-induced hiatus, doctors feel she is rushing it.

“This (reduced work hours) won’t help. She had been advised complete rest at home for at least two weeks. But if she is seated in one place for long and then starts walking, it will cause the pain to recur. It might even turn into a chronic problem,” warned a doctor.

Before resuming work on Wednesday, Mamata had last entered the secretariat on April 8. That was the day she had left for Delhi to attend a meeting of the Planning Commission at Yojana Bhavan, where she and minister Amit Mitra had a run-in with SFI supporters.

Mamata was taken ill during her stay in Delhi and admitted to Belle Vue Clinic immediately on her return. She was diagnosed with fluid accumulation in her left knee and a problem in her spine that was causing lower-back pain. Her blood pressure, pulse rate and oxygen level were found to be lower than normal.

“The low oxygen saturation in blood was a result of Mamata’s inability to breathe properly because of the back pain while stress was the culprit behind her low blood pressure,” a doctor said.

The parameters were back to normal when she was discharged from hospital on April 13 but next week will be the real test. The chief minister has a series of heavy-duty engagements lined up, starting with a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

On April 25, she is likely to attend a meeting on the multi-sectoral development programme and the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme on minorities, an official said.

Apart from these engagements, she is scheduled to hold a review of development projects with the secretaries of all departments and the district magistrates at Town Hall.