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Mamata calls off hospital visit midway

Raktima Bose
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Caught in the crowd:A patient covers her face from the scorching sun as there is no way to go out of the gate due to the onlookers who thronged the place to see Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the State-run R. G. Kar Hospital in Kolkata on Saturday.- Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
Caught in the crowd:A patient covers her face from the scorching sun as there is no way to go out of the gate due to the onlookers who thronged the place to see Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the State-run R. G. Kar Hospital in Kolkata on Saturday.- Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

The gathering of a huge crowd compelled Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to abort her scheduled visit to a State-run hospital here midway 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 over 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 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 had started assembling on the hospital premises since morning as the news of the Chief Minister's impending visit spread. Police personnel deployed to manage the crowd were outnumbered by the hundreds who had gathered to catch a glimpse of Ms. Banerjee.

A similar crowd-related issue incidentally led to the suspension of the Director of the State-run Bangur Institute of Neurology on Thursday. Director S.P. Gorai invited the Chief Minister's ire after complaining about crowding hospital compounds during her unscheduled visits. She later charged him with non-cooperation.

Interiors of most of the buildings in the hospital campus housing speciality departments wore a scrubbed clean on Saturday look while nooks and corners of the campus were sterilised with bleaching powder for the visit.

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.

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