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Medical infra in Bengal stressed due to non- implementation of Ayushman Bharat: Guv Dhankhar


KOLKATA: Medical infrastructure in West Bengal is "stressed" during the pandemic as the state has not implemented the Centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme, which Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar claimed has played a "significant role" during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Constitution and the country calls upon all to work in tandem and not in a confrontation mode, the governor said after launching the phase 3 regulatory trial of indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine 'Covaxin' at ICMR- NICED here on Wednesday.

"Because of Ayushman Bharat all over the country, we could have witnessed growth in the medical world...unfortunately some could not (take) part in this great venture, our state of West Bengal could not, our health infrastructure was stressed on that count," Dhankhar said.

The TMC government had said in September that it would implement the scheme if funds for the programme are routed through the state administration, contrary to the provisions laid down by the Centre.

The governor held that transparency and accountability must be followed for democratic governance which requires believing in the rule of law and constitutional propriety.

Dhankhar said that he is keen to know the outcome of a probe ordered by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the Health portfolio, over alleged irregularities in the purchase of medical equipment related to tackling the COVID-19.

He said, the chief minister had constituted a committee in August to probe the alleged irregularities.

Claiming that purchases made during the pandemic worth Rs 2,000 crore allegedly suffered from serious flaws, including "patronage, corruption", the governor questioned "whether those to be investigated, be the investigators themselves".

"We are shaming our civilisation if people can create opportunities to make money during a pandemic ...I am sure that the government will heed my voice that the report should be made public," he said.

Dhankhar, who has been engaged in bitter standoff with the Trinamool Congress dispensation in the state over a host of issues since he took over as the governor in July, 2019, said, "the government is having a series against the governor, every day you will find one or another batsman being fielded.

"The governor is guided only by the Indian Constitution, no amount of hiccups, no amount of deterrence will deter me; I will vindicate my oath, come what may, under all circumstances."