Union Tourism Minister's remarks invite flak
Darjeeling: Widespread protests have been launched against the Union Tourism and Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel's remarks labelling North Bengal Medical College being worse than a veterinary hospital. A 10 minute long pen down protest was observed in all government offices in the Darjeeling district by the West Bengal Government Employees Federation.
The Trinamool Congress has demanded an immediate apology else have threatened to beef up the ongoing agitation. Effigy of the minister was also torched by TMCP, the students' union affiliated to the TMC at Siliguri.
On January 8, Union Tourism Minister accompanied by the Darjeeling MP Raju Bista had visited a sexual assault victim at the NBMCH. Later talking to media persons Patel had stated that the condition of NBMCH was worse than a veterinary hospital.
This remark has invited flak from different quarters of the TMC. A dharna was staged by the employees' Federation on Monday. TMC leaders were also present at the dharna.
"On January 8th the tourism minister and tourist MP had visited the district. They then visited NBMCH and labeled it worse than a veterinary hospital. Covid warriors, frontline workers including doctors, nurses and police have given their lives. The microbiologists at
the NBMCH have worked relentlessly. Instead of displaying gratitude and sympathy, the Minister and the tourist MLA have made an insulting and irresponsible remark. Where was the BJP tourist MP for the past 10 months when we were relentlessly fighting Covid? His presence was there only on social media, spreading lies," alleged Ranjan Sarkar, President, TMC, Darjeeling district committee.
Sarkar demanded an immediate apology from the Minister. In the evening the TMCP torched an effigy of Patel in Siliguri as a mark or protest against the remark.
"This is the most important hospital of this region where people of the North Bengal districts and even bordering countries. The
tourism minister does not know anything about this region. This is his first visit and his highly politically motivated. It
is an irresponsible remark, aimed at misleading people. Where were they during Covid?" added Shanta Chettri, MP, Rajya Sabha.