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State holiday in Bengal on National Doctors Day: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee   | Photo Credit: PTI

This is as a mark of respect to services rendered by doctors, paramedical staff in fighting COVID-19, she says

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that July 1, observed as National Doctors Day, will be a State holiday.

“As a mark of respect to the exemplary services rendered by the doctors and paramedical staff in fighting COVID-19, we will observe doctors day as a State holiday,” Ms. Banerjee said. She urged the Centre and other State governments to follow suit.

National Doctors Day is observed on July 1 in memory of legendary physician and former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Bidhan Chandra Roy, who was born on July 1, 1882. He died on the same day in 1962.

‘No trains from hotspots’

Ms. Banerjee said the State was of the opinion that long distance passenger trains from five COVID-19 hotspots be suspended for the time being. “The Chief Secretary will write a letter to the States concerned. We also want domestic flights operated once in seven days,” she said. Ms. Banerjee said the Civil Aviation Ministry had done nothing to contain the situation and the entire responsibility was put on the States.

Metro services

While she discouraged long distance trains which are mainly bringing migrant workers, the Chief Minister said the State government had requested the Kolkata Metro authorities to start services. Ms. Banerjee cited the example of Mumbai, where select trains are operated for those working in essential services. “Here, we want metro services for all,” she said. Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha would speak to the chairperson of the Railway Board in this regard.

Earlier in the day, the State government officials held a meeting with the Kolkata Metro authorities. Spokesperson of Kolkata Metro, Indrani Banerjee, however, said Metro services would remain suspended till August 12. “We will be able to restore services only after a nod from the Ministries of Railways, Home Affairs and Health and Family Welfare,” the spokesperson said. But the Kolkata Metro gave a hint that it can run a few trains for people engaged in essential services, with approval from authorities concerned.

Despite repeated pleas from the State government, private bus operators have not started services, and are demanding a fare hike.

Survivors club

The Chief Minister asked the authorities to start a COVID survivors club consisting of people who have recovered from the viral infection. A club of about 70 survivors had been set up in Behrampore in Murshidabad district. As on June 28, 11,193 people had recovered from COVID-19. Ms. Banerjee said these people could provide support to patients undergoing treatment.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 6:54:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/state-holiday-in-bengal-on-national-doctors-day-mamata/article31949347.ece

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