Published On: Sat, Apr 25th, 2020

IMCT again complains of no-cooperation by West Bengal government

New Delhi: The Inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) on Saturday (April 25) wrote another letter to the West Bengal chief secretary alleging lack of cooperation from the state government and inadequate security provided during their visits to cities among other issues. The central team also expressed its concern over the Dumurjula quarantine centre in the state.

The West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee is yet to respond to the letter

In a letter to Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) led by senior bureaucrat Apurba Chandra, said that the West Bengal government cannot waste their time accompanying the IMCT for the field visit and claimed that “it was in complete violation to the Ministry of Home Affairs letter.”

On Friday, the IMCT team inspected a quarantine centre, Sanjiban Hospital and other COVID-19 hotspots in Howrah. The IMCT visited Dumurjala Stadium, a quarantine centre and Sanjiban Hospital and various other red zones in the Howrah district for inspection, after which the team returned to Kolkata.

In its letter, the IMCT said that the Dumurjala quarantine centre, which has a capacity of 118 people, has 80 inmates at present. It said the inmates are being taken for testing after their 7-day stay at the centre. The team claimed that cramped vans are being used to carry the inmates from the quarantine centre to testing faculty and a complete violation of social distancing was found to have taken place during the travel.

It claimed that during their visit to Saikia containment zone, the government ‘strictly’ enforced lockdown orders, which was not needed. Claiming that health professionals are not part of the surveillance team, it said that the team members would like to meet officers of the local body, district administration and a few residents in the area. It also sought a complete record of the surveillance carried out in containment zones so far.

The team said it has been in Kolkata since April 20 and has written four letters but none have been answered by the government.

It said the state government is expected to provide ‘accommodation, transportation, PPE and extend all cooperation for their visits to local areas, production of records as requested’, according to the MHA order. It also sought to know from the state government if it will take responsibility for the safety and security of the IMCT if it ventures out on its own. “Whether the BSF accompanying the IMCT on behalf of the government free to take action to ensure safety and security of the IMCT in absence of police support,” the letter asked.

It said no senior state official accompanies them on visits and their only expectation is that doctors and officers at the venue should meet and provide information to the team.

“Whether it is a fact that a DCP of Bengal police informed Bengal officers at BSF guest house on April 21 that the IMCT cannot leave the campus without the permission of the state government as lockdown is in force and if it leaves it is only permitted to go to the airport,” the letter read, seeking to know if there is truth to this statement.

It also sought to know if a PPP will be provided to the IMCT if it decided to visit a hospital on its own.

The West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee is yet to respond to the letter.

According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in West Bengal is 514. Till now, 103 people have either been cured or discharged, while 15 deaths have been reported.

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