Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures
What West Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow was the caption of a picture in the New York Times recently. Our Honourable Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee proved this right when she released Rs20,000 to each of the families who had lost their homes in the Cyclone Amphan.
Another 3 lakh farmers will get Rs 1,500 per acre for the damage to their crops. Such is the love of our Chief Minister for the downtrodden that she did not wait for the second tranche of Central aid, she ensured that the money was directly transferred into the account of the homeless.
The relief was distributed within nine days of the super cyclone battering the state with wind speeds of more than 150km per hour. Rebuilding will take time but at least a beginning has been made on a war footing. Though the government has restored over 400 bridges and more than 270 power substations to provide uninterrupted road connectivity and electricity, the task is big and time taking.
Some columns of the army have also been pressed into service to help civilian authorities in restoring normalcy.
But the state is fighting another battle on a different front. Though not on a scale compared to other states, the COVID-19 pandemic has also hit West Bengal despite measures taken to stop the spread.
A number of awareness campaigns have been launched across Kolkata and the state to teach people about the benefits of social distancing and wearing of masks. Leading from the front, the Chief Minister herself drew circles in markets for the public to maintain at least two metres space while buying goods. But the influx of migrants from other states has complicated the issue.
Many of them arrived in the state on Shramik special trains from corona hotspots and spread the infection. Though the government is geared up for the pandemic, it needs trained manpower and resources. Test kits, masks, hazmat suits and medicines have been requisitioned to deal with the situation but this is unprecedented circumstances and needs extraordinary efforts. Many quarantine centres have come up and the number of beds in the ICU has been increased, but the magnitude of infections has overwhelmed all the arrangements.
The only way we can manage this pandemic is through restraint during the lockdown. Not going out and keeping cleanliness to keep the coronavirus at bay.
And Kolkata Police is leading the way with its coronavirus awareness drive by not only enforcing strict lockdown through patrolling but also through songs and goodwill messages. Hope this pandemic ends soon and life returns to normal. Stay Safe, take care and happy reading.