The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM defends Mishra before angry Front

Calcutta, Sept. 13: The CPM’s smaller partners today questioned health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra’s handling of the baby deaths scandal at the B.C. Roy Children’s Hospital at a Left Front meeting.

Most of the partners said Mishra’s handling of the situation was “insensitive”, at least in the initial stages.

Minutes after the meeting began, with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee reporting on the state’s overall situation, CPI state secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar pointed out that it was “unbecoming” of a health minister to say there was “nothing abnormal in the number of deaths that have taken place on two consecutive days” at the B.C.Roy hospital.

“Mishra should have sympathetically reacted to such an appaling tragedy involving the deaths of not less than 14 children,” Majumdar said.

The state CPI chief was soon joined by leaders from the Forward Bloc and the RSP.

Bhattacharjee, however, stood by his minister. He is a “capable person and a sincere comrade”, the chief minister said.

But he conceded that Mishra may not have fully realised the gravity of the situation when the reports of the infant deaths first started coming in.

He promised the Front partners that the government would initiate disciplinary action against those found responsible for the deaths after the probe report is in.

“I am expecting the report in a day or two and will immediately let you know the government’s action on the basis of it,” Bhattacharjee said.

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