In the wake of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the West Bengal government on Thursday ordered the state-run private hospitals to provide free treatment for COVID-19 patients, adding that the entire cost will be borne by the state government. The Mamata Banerjee government also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1000 monthly for daily wages labourers.
It decided to keep the fair prices shops (ration shops) open from 8 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 8 pm from April 24 to May 31. The step has been taken for the benefit of those who are facing hard times.
A huge political confrontation between the state and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) since the last few days over sending interministerial central teams (IMCT) to conduct field visits of COVID-19 hotspots in Kolkata and Jalpaiguri districts. The state government has now decided to step back and work for the benefit and welfare for the people of West Bengal and provide essential requirements.
As per the approved rates and package offered by the state government, the private hospitals can't reject the patient as referred by the state government to those hospitals having COVID- 19 centre and providing healthcare for the patients. All private hospitals will have to display a notice, reading, “The treatment to the patients is free & entire cost is being borne by the Government of West Bengal”.
Similarly, the government inducted new schemes as “Prachesta” to provide ex- gratia payment. Any permanent resident of West Bengal working as a labourer, daily wager and worker, those who are extremely distress and have lost their employment, are eligible. They need to furnish the details through application form submitted to the District Magistrate, District Commissioner and KMC for Kolkata Municipal corporation areas. The application needs to be submitted personally, with the government clearly mentioning that no bulk application will be accepted.
The District Magistrate needs to make proper arrangements and process through BDO and SDO in rural and urban areas, whereas the KMC commissioner will make arrangements and process in KMC areas. The schemes will come into effect from April 15 till May 15. The money will be directly transferred in the bank accounts through IFSC.
As per the latest data, there are 334 active cases and 15 deaths in the state. Nine districts are under the green zone, eleven districts under orange zones and four districts (Kolkata, Howrah, East Midnapore, and North 24 Parganas) in Red Zone.
(With inputs from Sutapa Sen)