On Saturday, the leader of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) in West Bengal wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary of the State government, complaining about inadequate security and non-cooperation.
The letter began by reminding the State Government of the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on April 19 wherein it categorically stated that the Mamata Banerjee-led-West Bengal Government would provide logistical support and cooperation during a visit to local areas, procurement of documents and records as requested by IMCT.
The team leader further complained that four letters had been written to the State Government since April 20 but no response had been received for the same. IMCT alleged that in gross violation of the MHA order, the Chief Secretary of the government had made media statements refusing to allow senior officials to accompany the team, under the pretext of “not wasting their time.”
Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) leader in West Bengal writes to State Chief Secretary, complains of non-cooperation by West Bengal Government and inadequate security provided. pic.twitter.com/CHK77J34Kr— ANI (@ANI) April 25, 2020
The leader of the team further revealed that while a presentation was made by the State Health Department on 10 aspects sought by IMCT, the hard copy of the presentation was not provided to the team. IMCT has also rebuked the Chief Secretary and made it clear that the stand of the government must be highlighted through written communication and not media statements.
IMCT complains about non-cooperation
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs has said in a statement that the Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) appointed by the Centre to make an on-spot assessment of Coronavirus situation has received support, with the exception of West Bengal, from local administration and State Governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
The MHA stated that the IMCT which visited Kolkata and Jalpaiguri were being stopped from visiting the designated areas. They were reportedly also barred from interacting with the local health workers. The Central Government has also written a letter to the State asking for the enforcement of April 19 order besides facilitating the assessment team in doing their job.
Mamata Banerjee stays defiant
On April 20, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the formation of IMCT constituted by the Central Government for quick redressal of coronavirus crisis in states, claiming that it is ‘not consistent with the spirit of federalism’. The Central government constituted 6 IMCT to make an on-spot assessment of the coronavirus situation and issue necessary directions to state authorities for its redressal.
The IMCT would also submit its report to the central government in the larger interest of the general public. These teams would visit West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan to ensure that lockdown is implemented there. Earlier, she had said she would not allow usage of PPE kits sent by the Centre as they were yellow in colour.