Centre unable to supply enough vaccines: Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a meeting with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee in Kolkata on August 5, 2021.  

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday met Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee and discussed India’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic with him.

Mr. Banerjee, who is a member of West Bengal’s COVID-19 management committee, said that his sense is that the biggest problem is that the Centre is not capable of generating the supply of vaccines needed for the whole country. “We have not reached the promised level of supply,” the economist said. He also said that West Bengal had effectively used the vaccines supplied by the Centre.

Ms. Banerjee also raised the issue of shortage of vaccines and accused the Centre of discriminating against West Bengal. “Gujarat is smaller in size but got double the vaccines. I don’t have a problem [with this]. But I have a problem when we are not getting vaccines. People are suffering,” she said.

She has also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the appeal that West Bengal should receive adequate doses of vaccines, according to its requirement.

The letter said: “I am sorry to say the Central government is providing large numbers of vaccine doses to States like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka, which are BJP-ruled. I have no problem if they or any other state for that matter receives higher number of vaccine doses, but I cannot remain a mute spectator to see Bengal deprived.”

The Chief Minister in the communication said that West Bengal needs 14 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines to cover all the people in relevant categories. “However, we have received 2.68 crore doses till day from Government of India,” Ms. Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister also announced that the State government may open schools after Durga Puja, depending on the COVID-19 situation prevailing then. Ms. Banerjee said that schools could be opened on alternate days after the Pujas.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 4:30:40 AM |

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