A special vehicle carrying COVID-19 vaccines had to be diverted on Wednesday in West Bengal’s Purba Bardhaman district due to a blockade of the national highway led by the state minister, Siddiqullah Chowdhury, who was protesting against the new farm laws, sources said.
Purba Bardhaman’s Superintendent of Police Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay said that the vaccine-carrying insulated van was diverted over a distance of five km through a village because of the blockade of the national highway, connecting Kolkata and New Delhi.
Unofficial sources, however, claimed that the vehicle had to traverse village roads for a distance of 20 kms before it could be brought back on the national highway.
After leaving the state government’s vaccine store in Kolkata, the vehicle delivered 31,500 vaccine doses at Purba Bardhaman district health office and was on its way to deliver the life-saving drug to Bankura and Purulia when the incident took place.
“Minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury blocked coronavirus vaccine today because of his political hypocrisy. Because of this, the vehicle carrying the vaccine had to be diverted. Who would have been responsible if due to any accident or any other reason, the vaccine had got destroyed?” BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya said in a tweet in Hindi.
Mr Chowdhury, the state library services minister, said he was not aware of the movement of the vaccine van and cleared the road once it was brought to his notice, but by that time it was already diverted.