It’s been a long time private hospitals in West Bengal are taking people for a ride. Profit is their sole motive. And ‘service’ is strictly no-no. Whenever a patient lands in their territories, his or her families are at their mercy. Doctors (barring a few), overpowered by greed, have become depraved mercenaries.
Medical negligence and a large number of doctors’ utter irresponsibility and unethical practices have been a serious issue for years. Unfortunately, the previous government led by the CPI(M) patriarch, Jyoti Basu, who was in the saddle for more than 23 years, didn’t bother to look into the matter.
Basu used to fly to UK every summer to seek relaxation in ‘bourgeoise’ climes and hardly looked into the monumental malpractices in the private hospitals.
On 9 December 2011, in a devastating fire that started at the basement of AMRI Dhakuria more than 90 people perished. The Mamata government swung into action and closed the hospital and six board members were arrested the next morning. The CM earned huge accolades for her immediate and stern action.
The hospital, however, reopened after two years.
The medical malpractices are nothing new. During her first five years in the Writers’ Building, Mamata Banerjee didn’t look into these unfair practices prevailing in the private hospitals.
Why is Mamata pro-active now? Why did she wake up to the reality six years after she took the reins?
Mamata knows if she can meet people’s basic needs of medical services, education, good roads and water, she will win the hearts of the masses. We have seen this earlier. Despite the much-publicised Sarada scandal, she proved all her critics wrong and came back to power with a landslide victory in 2016.
Mamata, however, finds herself in an uncomfortable situation now after the recent Bhangore incident. We’ve witnessed how the land sharks and muscle men backed by her party have arm-twisted and coerced farmers to sell their lands at low prices. The stiff resistance by thousands of farmers to the sale of farmland for a power project in Bhangore in south 24 Parganas showed the pitfalls of the Mamata government’s industrialisation policy.
These farmers were opposed not so much to the power utility project as to the way they were ‘duped’ by the middlemen and muscle men who enjoyed the patronage of the ruling party leaders who browbeat them to sell their land at throwaway prices.
The rebellion made the leadership so much worried that for weeks no Trinamool leaders dared visit the area fearing backlash, even though the villagers declared that they are Trinamool supporters.
(To be continued)