In an attempt to ensure strict monitoring of the Covid-19 situation and avoid deaths due to negligence of authorities, Tripura Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath has offered a novel initiative. Nath’s idea involves ministers from the state cabinet packing their bags and staying at the state-run dedicated Covid-19 hospital — Govinda Ballabh Panth (GBP) Hospital — for a couple of days to keep watch.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a briefing at the state secretariat in Agartala, Nath said his government condoles all deaths and is trying hard to arrest the spread of the disease. In response to questions raised over services offered at the Covid-19 ward of GBP Hospital, the minister said there was no doubt that all deaths are painful and unfortunate, but stressed that his government was vigilant to make sure no one dies due to negligence of duty.
“Every single death is unfortunate. Nobody was ready across the world for this pandemic. Death cases are rising. But no one should die due to negligence. If needed, one minister will take turns to stay inside the hospital in case negligence is observed,” Nath said.
His statement comes eight days after the mother of a three-day-old died at GBP Hospital shortly after doctors collected swab samples from his nose. The mother had filed a complaint against the doctors and nurses, accusing them of negligence. The child’s Covid-19 test was necessitated since his mother was diagnosed with the disease prior to delivery.
The minister’s clarifications also came following an allegation by former health minister and BJP MLA Sudip Roy Barman, who on Friday claimed during a press conference that those entrusted with the responsibility of tackling Covid-19 have failed to do so, leaving people to die “untreated” and “uncared for”.
Roy Barman, who was axed from the state cabinet in June last year after 14 months of service as health minister, said, “Authorities, who were entrusted with the responsibility of the health department have failed (to tackle Covid-19). We can’t let people die uncared for and untreated. The Chief Minister should interact frequently with people doing the job. Someone has to inform him about what needs to be done, which is why I am sayingbthese things.”
The ex-health minister said he had tried to get in touch with the CM with suggestions on the Covid-19 situation, but wasn’t given a hearing. He also claimed he was in possession of photographs to prove that the body of a deceased patient was left in a corner of the hospital for 72 hours before anyone attended to it.
On these issues, Ratan Lal Nath said his government was very serious about negligence of duties and would not tolerate it. “Deaths due to negligence and irresponsible acts will not be tolerated,” he said.
According to latest data available, 134 people have died in Tripura due to Covid-19, out of 13,836 people who tested positive. At least 8,483 have recovered from the disease, while 5,195 are still under treatment. Tripura is currently testing 72,117 people per million for coronavirus.
Many relatives of those who died have also alleged negligence of doctors, paramedics, leading to the deaths.