Agartala: Even as the state continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus, Tripura ex-health minister and ruling BJP MLA Sudip Roy Barman accused his government of mismanaging the COVID-19 crisis and termed the present situation as the ‘tip of an iceberg’.

Roy Barman told EastMojo, “What the figures reflect is not the actual state of affairs, it’s much more than that. The shortage of test is a hindrance in the original reflection of positivity rate,” Roy Barman said.

Roy Barman was the health minister in the present BJP-IPFT government but was axed from the state cabinet soon after the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, for allegedly being vocal against his own government, according to party sources. 

Roy Barman, who has won straight five terms, was a legislator from Congress and leader of the opposition in the state assembly. He left the grand old party to join Trinamool Congress in 2016. A year later, he joined the saffron party along with a group of MLAs.

Roy Barman pointed out several issues not being addressed by the state government. “The government should focus on conducting massive testing and ensure that the vaccination of the people takes place properly within a specific period. The government should also ensure that no overcrowding takes place in the public place and movement of local trains needs to be stopped immediately as one does not need to have an RT-PCR report to travel in-district by train,” Roy Barman said.

He also alleged that the patients undergoing treatment in different levels of care centres are getting ‘sub-standard’ foods and state-run COVID control rooms are of no use as he has received several complaints from the people.

“The government is spending Rs 380 per patient to provide good quality of food, but the standard of the food is as reported by the patients is in a pitiable state of affairs. The state government has not appointed any dietician to look after the quality of food being provided to the patients,” the senior leader added.

During his tenure as the Tripura health minister in the incumbent government, Barman was responsible for upgrading the state referral hospital and bringing in changes in the system in the Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital.

However, two years after being axed from the cabinet, Roy Barman termed the GBP hospital, which is the dedicated COVID care centre, as ‘door to hell’ due to lack of coordination and failure in the system.

“If you are admitted in the GBP hospital, you will be mentally shattered and it is a door to hell, as you never know whether you will return back or not,” Roy Barman added.  

He also feels that given the present situation the state is going through, a full-time health minister is needed to look after the situation.

“It is not possible for the chief minister to look after the present situation as he has to look after other crucial departments like home, DWS. The state should have a full-time health minister. How can the chief minister find time to monitor this entire thing? It is next to impossible. I hope the government will solve these issues as soon as possible,” Roy Barman opined.

When asked if he has been isolated by the party and his own government, the senior leader said that his party has sidelined him and he has not received any call from the state or party in the past two years.

“I have not been invited to attend any meeting of the party. However, I am in touch with the common people and I am doing everything possible on my part,” Roy Barman added.

The Tripura ex-health minister also alleged that the state government has recently formed ‘Corona Crisis Management Group’ but those legislators who do not believe in buttering the leaders were not included in the committee.

In August 2020, Sudip Roy Barman visited the Bhagat Singh Youth Hostel which falls under his assembly constituency. He met with the patients wearing a PPE kit and distributed dry fruits among the 280 patients. Following his visit, the MLA was served a memo by the West district magistrate to undergo home quarantine, which he didn’t follow. 

On Monday, Tripura reported a total of 426 fresh cases taking the positive cases tally to 46,525. The state has also reported five deaths which pushed the fatality tally to 469 so far.

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