The gathering of a huge crowd compelled Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to abort her scheduled visit to a State-run hospital midway here on Saturday reportedly because she “did not want to cause inconvenience to the patients”.
Moments after her car entered the R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital compound , Ms. Banerjee asked her convoy to make an about-turn after being overwhelmed by the surging crowd.
Following a series of ‘surprise' visits to different State-run hospitals in the past one week to run a first-hand check on their working conditions as well as patient-feedback, it was Ms. Banerjee's first announced visit to any hospital where she was also scheduled to inaugurate three new facilities.
Ms. Banerjee holds the Health and Family Welfare portfolio in the Cabinet along with eight other portfolios.
Later, the State's Health Secretary M.N. Roy said: “Seeing the huge crowd, Ms. Banerjee did not want to cause inconvenience to the patients. She has promised to visit the hospital again soon. She has also asked the authorities to start running the new facilities without any formal inauguration.”
A massive crowd started assembling in the hospital premises since morning as the news of the Chief Minister's visit spread. Police personnel deployed to manage the crowd were outnumbered in comparison to the hundreds who had gathered to catch a glimpse of Ms. Banerjee.
Ms. Banerjee was scheduled to inaugurate 36-beds in the Institute of Cardiovascular Science building's new general ward, 16 new beds in the intensive coronary care unit and an artificial valve-bank where valves collected from dead bodies will be preserved for transplanting to patients suffering from valve malfunctioning.
Several patients who were transferred to the new ward from the existing wards for the inauguration purpose sounded disappointed when they were informed that the Chief Minister has left without meeting them. The medical staff, too, felt let down following the initial euphoria.