09 - 08 - 2020

West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra dies, cremation today; leaders pay tribute

KOLKATA, JULY 30,202:West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra died of kidney and heart ailments at a private hospital in the early hours of Thursday.

Mitra was 78 and is survived by his son Rohan Mitra, state youth Congress leader, and wife Sikha Mitra, a former legislator.

“Saddened to hear about the passing away of veteran leader, former MP and West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra. My deepest condolences to his family, followers and well-wishers,” tweeted chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mitra was admitted to the hospital a week ago and underwent dialysis twice. He will be cremated later in the day, said members of the family.

“All my love and support to family and friends of Somen Mitra at this difficult time. We will remember him with love, fondness and respect,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi.

Mitra was elected legislator from the Sealdah constituency in central Kolkata seven times. He was also elected to the Lok Sabha as a Trinamool Congress candidate in 2009 when he left the Congress for a few years only to return to the party again.

Mitra was state Congress president twice. During his first stint between 1992 and 1998, Mamata Banerjee left the party and formed the Trinamool Congress, alleging that Congress had become a weak Opposition against the Left Front government.

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha and former president of the party’s West Bengal unit Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said he has lost a guardian. “I started my career under his leadership. He helped me become a people’s representative for the first time.”

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “Mitra was the face of the old political culture that was marked by decency and courtesy.”

CPI(M) politburo member and former Lok Sabha MP Md Salim said, “Mitra was one of those old timers who stayed in touch with people and knew individuals by their names and faces. He knew constituencies like the palm of his hand.”


West Bengal has highest Covid mortality rate: IMCT

Kolkata, May  6,2020:The accusation of playing down the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the state, repeatedly hurled at West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee by Opposition parties ranging from the BJP to the CPM, was today echoed by the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) sent to the state by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

While winding up their two-week visit to the state, IMCT team leader Apurva Chandra wrote to Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha that West Bengal was having the highest Covid mortality rate in the country. “The state needs to be transparent and consistent in reporting figures and not downplay the spread of the virus,” he wrote, putting the figure of mortality rate in the state to 12.8 per cent which was “by far the highest in the country.”

Chandra also mentioned that the state did not support the central team.



West Bengal calls Centre's coronavirus COVID-19 red zone data 'erroneous'

Kolkata, May2,2020: The Mamata Banerjee government on Friday wrote a letter to the Centre stating that its assessment of 10 coronavirus COVID-19 red zones in West Bengal is 'erroneous'.

According to Zee Media sources, the letter has been written by West Bengal Principal Secretary (Health) Vivek Kumar to Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan in which he stated that the Health Ministry's assessment of 10 red zones in the state is flawed.

In his letter, Kumar maintained that there are only four red zones: Kolkata, Howrah, North-24 Paraganas and Purba Medinipur.

With regard to the presentation made in the Cabinet Secretary`s video conference with the states on April 30, 2020, at 3 PM, as many of ten districts of West Bengal were shown in the Red Zone. This is an erroneous assessment," the letter said. 

"Based on the current parameters of Government of India for categorization of areas for COVID-19, the districts in the Red Zone are only four: Kolkata, Howrah, North-24 Paraganas and Purba Medinipur," it said.


Mob attacks police, pelts stones in West Bengal's Howrah; huge force rushed to spot

 Kolkata, April 29,2020: A police team in West Bengal's Howrah was attacked as they tried to disperse a large crowd that had gathered in the Tikiyapara area. According to police, when they tried to break the gathering and vacate the premises, the mob attacked them and hurled stones and empty glass bottles on them. 

The mob also vandalised a police car that was parked nearby, said personnel. He added that the Rapid Action Force and police teams were outnumbered by the mob as they cornered the security force personnel and chased them. 

In the wake of coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic, the government has banned any sort of gathering at any religious or non-religious places across the country. Apart from the Centre and state governments, the local authorities are also ensuring that no such assembling takes place anywhere, to combat the spread of the infection. 

"IMCT=I Must Cause Trouble": Trinamool Slams Central COVID Team In Bengal

Kolkata, April26,2020:Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien has taken a swipe at a central team sent to West Bengal to investigate alleged violations of the coronavirus lockdown and lapses by the state government.

The Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) is tasked with assessing the situation in Bengal, issue directions to the state authorities and submit their report to the centre, the Home Ministry has said.

"IMCT #Bengal visit served no purpose. Visiting districts with no hotspots. Asking for committee already in place. Real aim is to spread the political virus. Doing it shamelessly. Blatantly. Take ur pick. IMCT= India's Most Callous Team. IMCT= I Must Cause Trouble (in Bengal)," Derek O'Brien tweeted today.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the centre have been attacking each other over the IMCT's visit to Bengal. The centre has warned Bengal, citing the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and a Supreme Court order to say the Bengal government must comply with orders and co-operate with the central team.

Don’t celebrate Bengal, news of home delivery of alcohol is fake

Kolkata, April 8,2020: Home delivery of alcohol  during the coronavirus lockdown  is a prospect that would excite many. However, the excitement proved short-lived for West Bengal residents as a viral report was subsequently dismissed as false Wednesday.

A fake WhatsApp forward that appeared to be an internal police communication said the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal had given its go-ahead for the home delivery of liquor in Kolkata from shops as well as bars and restaurants. 

A regional channel caught on, with some national news portals reporting the order too.