Kolkata: An ambulance carrying a patient who suffered a heart attack was allegedly held up by police on an expressway from where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s convoy was expected to pass through.
Police, however, denied that the ambulance was held up on Wednesday because of the chief minister’s convoy.
A relative of Meherjan Begum, who suffered a heart attack and was being taken to the city’s SSKM Hospital, alleged that the incident took place on the Kona Expressway in Howrah on Wednesday when police “held up the ambulance” for nearly 20 minutes as the patient lay inside gasping for breath.
“Our repeated pleas to let go the ambulance fell on deaf ears. Not only that, one of the policemen checked her pulse and asserted that she was stable enough to wait for the convoy to pass,” said the relative, Mohammad Aziz.
The ambulance eventually was allowed to go even as the chief minister’s convoy did not pass through the area as Banerjee took a helicopter ride back from Digha in East Midnapore.
Rubbishing the charges, Howrah’s Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sumit Kumar said the ambulance was caught up in a traffic jam due to the breakdown of a bus.
“The chief minister took the chopper from Digha at 1.30 p.m. Even if she had come by road, her convoy would have passed through Kona expressway not before 5 p.m. So there is no point stopping the ambulance five hours earlier,” he said.
“A bus had broken down causing a traffic snarl which led to the ambulance being held for 5-6 minutes. We are saying this only after examining CCTV footage. The allegations are baseless and aimed at attracting publicity,” the police officer added.
Currently undergoing treatment at the cardiology department of SSKM Hospital, Meherjan Begum’s condition is critical.
The Trinamool Congress dubbed the traffic interruption and the incovenience to passengers “unnecessary”.
Trinamool national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien said: “On December 23, Mamata Banerjee flew by helicopter from Digha to Kolkata.
“No chief minister’s convoy was passing by. The traffic interruption, and the inconvenience to citizens in Howrah was absolutely unnecessary,” he said.