The COVID-19 situation in Assam is likely to assume a more menacing nature in the days ahead. With 135805 total cases and 414 deaths as on Thursday, Assam is already the worst affected state of the Northeastern part of India.
That tough days are lying ahead for the people of the state can be deduced from a recent notification issued by NHM, Assam inviting e-Tenders for the supply of 3000 body bags.
As it is known to all, body bags are used for storing and transporting shrouded corpses. Therefore, the said tender application notice, issued at a time when the state is under the grip of COVID-19, doesn't augur well for the people of Assam. Anyone would get tempted to ask, "Will the state see so many deaths going forward?"
Mincing no words, the Health Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma has already said that the COVID-19 situation will be more challenging in the next two months. He even estimated more than 75000 fresh positive cases in the state in the months of October and November.
Recently, State Minster of Health (Independent) Pijush Hazarika went to the extent of saying that the COVID-19 situation is sliding out of hands.
Besides, it is no longer a secret that the state is facing a severe crisis of ICU beds.
Now, the pertinent question that would come across the mind of any common man is that if the government is so sure that the pandemic would grow worse in the state in the ensuing days, why didn't it use its resources to beef up the health infrastructure all this while?
There is no doubt that lockdown can never be a solution to the COVID-19 crisis. It just pauses the looming danger for a brief period. In this backdrop, the State government did well by ending the lockdown restrictions in conformity with the Union government's Unlock 4.0 guidelines.
However, what did the state government do during the lockdown period? Starting from March till August, why didn't the government harness the time, a time when most activities came to a halt, to bolster the state health infrastructure?
Is Assam facing a leadership crisis, for a good leader should be able to foresee the future and prepare accordingly for the possible contingencies? And by giving such statements, is the state government trying to suggest that it has surrendered to the pandemic?
Can't the state government give an honest and comprehensive low-down about the 'uncontrollable' COVID scenario in Assam to the Central government? Will the Central government then not help Assam find a way out of this serious soup?