A communication purportedly issued by a government hospital in Patna about establishing a "ventilator-equipped hospital" inside the chief minister's official residence here, went viral on social media on Tuesday.
The purported letter dated July 7 and signed by the Superintendent of the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) refers to "instructions received over phone from Additional Secretary, Health" with regard to preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 infection.
While PMCH Superintendent Vimal Karak couldn't be reached for clarifications, officials at the Chief Minister’s 1, Anney Marg residence expressed surprise over the communication.
When asked about the letter, which also assigned duty roster to physicians, anaesthesia experts and nurses who would ensure that the "ventilator-equipped hospital" remained functional round the clock, the officials, on the condition of anonymity, said medical professionals do visit VVIP quarters.
They, however, seemed perplexed over what the hospital authority meant by a "ventilator-equipped hospital inside the Chief Minister's residence".
Asked about the development, Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, spokesman of the JD(U), headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said, "We do not have any authentic information about this episode. It would, thus, not be appropriate to comment."
However, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, who is the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, came out with a video message claiming that a "cruel joke" is being played on the people who have been left "at the mercy of God" by the government, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be reaching its peak in Bihar.
"The chief minister got himself tested and special arrangements were made to ensure that the reports come out within two hours,” he said. “Since the contagion now seems to be knocking at the doors of his residence, he has commissioned a ventilator inside the premises. The people will not forgive him for this," claimed Yadav.
The former deputy chief minister was making reference to Kumar getting his samples collected on Saturday after the Acting Chairman of the state Legislative Council, with whom he had interacted a few days ago, tested COVID-19 positive.
The chief minister tested negative and so did most of the people frequenting his official residence, who had been directed to get their samples checked.
However, a niece of Kumar who had been staying with him and a policeman deputed as part of the security arrangements at the sprawling premises, have tested positive.