Siliguri, 05 Jul:
Darjeeling MP, Raju Bista, has pulled up the West Bengal government for its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in North Bengal, especially Siliguri. He remains convinced that closing down markets piecemeal will not help so long as people are moving around freely. He has called for a strict lockdown in Siliguri and Dareeling and Jalpaiguri districts to contain the virus.
In a press statement issued today, he writes, “The rapidly rising COVID-positive cases in North Bengal, and particularly in Siliguri is a case of grave concern. According to the WB Govt official figures [valid as of 9AM 4th of July], as compared to June 15th – positive cases in Darjeeling District have increased from 219 to 577, a sharp rise of 263%, out of which majority of the cases have been from Siliguri sub-division. So far 13 people have died due to COVID in North Bengal, and most deaths have happened under Siliguri sub-division.
Given that Siliguri is the financial capital of North Bengal and also the gateway to North East India, more cases here could lead to Siliguri becoming an epicentre of regional COVID breakout in the coming days.”
In their desperate bid to contain the pandemic, today the WB Govt is ordering shutting down of one market or the other in Siliguri, but I feel that as long as people move around freely, shutting the markets alone won’t make any difference, he adds.
“These patchwork approach to containment, will only cause further escalation of the pandemic, not only in Siliguri but in other regions of North Bengal also. As people will feel a false sense of security that only markets are COVID prone and not other parts of the city. This is very dangerous.
Other than keeping essential services open, MP therefore requested Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and also the District Magistrate Darjeeling and District Magistrate Jalpaiguri to initiate strict Lockdown of Siliguri Municipal Corporation area and connected Blocks where cases have sharply risen, for the next 15-days.
“I believe this is the only way to break the COVID transmission chain in North Bengal,” informs a press release issued by the office of MP Raju Bista.