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Mamata transfers IAS, IPS officers over ration supply and mosque gathering row

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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was angry about the COVID-19 case in the state | File photo: ANI
File image of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee | ANI


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Kolkata: Three IAS officers and an IPS officer have been transferred in the last 24 hours in West Bengal after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed dissatisfaction over their handling of the Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown. 

The transfer order of the IAS officers — Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies Manoj Agarwal, and District Magistrates (DM) of West Burdwan, Shashank Shethi, and Darjeeling Deepap Priya P. — were issued Thursday.

On Friday, Banerjee issued the transfer order of Ajeet Singh Yadav, Superintendent of Police (SP), Murshidabad district.

Mamata unhappy with ration distribution 

Banerjee during a televised meeting Thursday at the state secretariat, Nabanna, said she was “extremely unhappy” with the food distribution department and the way ration shops are being managed.

Sources in the government said this comes after Banerjee received reports in the past week of beneficiaries not receiving the allotted food grains — rice and wheat.

In some cases, even the ruling Trinamool Congress local leaders, including councillors and MLAs, were accused of taking food grains away from the designated ration shops by intimidating the shop owners. The local leaders were also accused of distributing the government ration to the people just to show that they are helping them out amid this crisis.

Banerjee had issued several warnings to the food distribution department earlier and also to her party’s local leaders against such mismanagement of government ration. 

On Thursday she finally ordered the transfer of the department’s secretary Agarwal, who has been sent “on compulsory waiting”, meaning he does not have any posting now. 

Agarwal has been replaced by Parwez Ahmed Siddiqui. 


Also read: Health ministry asks Mamata govt to be prepared for dengue outbreak amid Covid-19 crisis


Influx in Siliguri, lockdown breach reasons for transfer

Darjeeling DM Deepap Priya P. has been brought back to Nabanna as ‘officer on special duty’ at the Home department.

According to sources, Deepap was transferred as the influx of people from other states to Siliguri, which is a tri-junction of international borders — Bhutan, Nepal and China — could not be brought under control. 

Moreover, a woman, who tested positive for Covid-19 in an area in Siliguri and later died, infected at least nine members of her family and later it became a Covid-19 cluster in Siliguri. 

The new district magistrate for Darjeeling is now Ponnambalam S. 

West Burdwan DM Shethi has been appointed as the ‘officer on special duty’ to the chief secretary.

According to sources, Shethi was transferred after there were reports of people violating the lockdown in the district. Sources added Shethi was replaced by Purnendu Manjhi.

SP of Murshidabad transferred

Yadav has been posted as the SP, Counter Insurgency Force, in Durgapur. He has been replaced by K. Sabari Raj Kumar.

Sources said Yadav’s transfer comes a week after a huge gathering outside a mosque at the time of Friday prayers snowballed into a major controversy.

The Mamata Banerjee government was criticised for allowing Muslims to gather outside a mosque amid the lockdown.

Meanwhile, in a televised meeting with DMs, SPs and departmental secretaries Friday, Banerjee has asked them to seal the inter-state borders and also keep a vigil on the international border entry points. 


Also read: IAS officer’s wife, professor, ex-MP — Bengal’s Covid-19 ‘rumour factory’ a club of elites


 

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India

Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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