THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Under attack for a spate of crib deaths in West Bengal, a Trinamool Congress minister at the Centre on Monday passed on the blame to the erstwhile Left Front rule for the "poor state of affairs" in state-run hospitals.
"The 34 years of Left rule has completely destroyed the infrastructure in West Bengal and the present government is engaged in improving things," Union Minister of State for Health, Sudip Bandyopadhyay told. He said the Mamata Banerjee government was seized of the issue of infant deaths which were reported only in three hospitals and that remedial steps are being taken on a war footing to improve the situation.
"The government is trying its best to improve things. People of the state are prepared to give her time to make things work," Bandyopadhyay in Thiruvananthapuram to review Centrally sponsored health schemes, said. "Mamata Banerjee does not have a magic wand to rectify serious damage done by CPI(M)-led Left Front rule for all 34 years. We are confident of making things work as we have the people's support and a government committed to their welfare," he said.
He said that Centre had started a programme to study infant mortality in the country. In this regard, Kerala is the best state with only 13 infant deaths per 1000. In West Bengal it was 31 per 1000 and the national average was 47 per 1000. The minister claimed that West Bengal, under Banerjee, had made commendable progress in resolving the Maoist and Gorkhaland problems within a short time.
The chief minister herself had travelled to remote Maoist affected areas and talked to people to bring them to the mainstream. "This approach has produced good results and I can say the result was 100 per cent," he said. Infant deaths returned to haunt West Bengal with 19 babies dying in Bankura and Malda districts within a span of two days this month. The toll in Malda hospital has shot up to 125 in 16 days, its vice-principal MA Rashid said.