Kolkata, April 10 (IANS) The exact number of Covid 19 deaths in West Bengal is becoming nothing short of a mystery.
Even as the state government on Friday maintained that the death count was still five, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation came out with a list claiming that it had arranged the last rites of ten persons who perished due to the deadly disease in and around the city.
Ironically, the KMC board is also run by the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress, with city Mayor Firhad Hakim being one of the most influential ministers in the government.
Soon after the KMC published the list, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha appeared before the media and claimed the toll still stood at five.
He said the KMC has neither the right to publish such information, nor the power to issue a death certificate to a person who dies after testing positive for coronavirus.
However, the KMC data gave fresh ammunition to the opposition, as Union Minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo in a video message displayed the KMC list and yet again accused the Trinamool administration of suppressing facts including the death count related to Covid-19.
“They are not sharing the full information with the centre. Now even the KMC which is also run by the Trinamool, is claiming it has arranged for the last rites of ten persons, double the statewide figure given by the state administration. And the KMC figure is about only Kolkata and surrounding areas,” said Supriyo.
Sinha, however, denied any efforts on the part of the government to hide facts.
“Why should we have anything to hide? Whenever anybody coronavirus positive is dying, we are onpassing all his details and medical records to the death audit committee, which is made up of experts. They are telling us whether the death is due to Covid-19 or not. Accordingly, we are updating our figure,” he said.
Sinha said the state now had 89 active Covid-19 patients.
The Central government data, however, says the total number of persons afflicted with the disease since its onset in the state is 116, of whom 16 have recovered, and five perished.
Last week also, there was confusion over the number of deaths in the state due to the viral infection.
Expert committee member and eminent pulmonologist Dhiman Ganguly, in a media conference, had given the toll as seven, that included four people who passed away in the previous 24 hours.
About three hours later, Sinha held another round of video conference with journalists, where he claimed the number of deaths was three, and saidA the other four deceased had comorbidity.
He also came up with some statistical jugglery to project a lower figure, for the viral infection in the state, by highlighting the number of active cases at present, rather than the total number of persons testing positive.