The Union Home Ministry, Wednesday once again wrote to the Mamata Banerjee government, slamming the West Bengal government for not enforcing Coronavirus containment measures effectively. This is the second letter that has been addressed to the WB government by the Union Home Ministry in the last 24 hours. In a stern warning, the Centre asked the state chief secretary to ensure that lockdown measures were strictly implemented as its two teams had found “specific groups” in “specific localities” of Kolkata and Howrah violating the lockdown as well as attack police and healthcare workers.
In his letter to Mamata Banerjee government, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla flagged the plying of rickshaws, uncontrolled crowding of markets, free movement of people in large numbers, children playing cricket, and people bathing in rivers among the violations.
Asking the chief secretary to ensure sticter enforcement of the lockdown by enhancing police control, Ajay Bhalla wrote: “Lockdown violations have been noted in the cities of Kolkata and Howrah by specific groups in specific localities with reports of corona warriors, including the police, being attacked.”
Bhalla said that these observations were based on the reports submitted by the two Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) that recently toured West Bengal to monitor coronavirus measures.
Union Home Ministry’s first letter to Mamata Banerjee govt
Yesterday, in a letter to Mamata Banerjee’s government, the Union Home Ministry had revealed that the state has the highest rate of coronavirus fatalities. In a memo, the Union Home Ministry also pointed out that the state has a “very low rate of testing in proportion to the population and a very high rate of mortality of 13.2 per cent, by far the highest for any state.”
The letter revealed further, “This is a reflection of poor surveillance, detection, and testing in the state. There is also a need to increase random testing in crowded clusters.”
In a letter to West Bengal Chief Secretary, Union Home ministry secretary Ajay Bhalla revealed that the lockdown violations are noted in the cities of Kolkata and Howrah with media reports of the corona warriors being attacked.
After the feedback of IMCT teams which were deputed in Kolkata and Jalpaiguri districts since April 20 and returned on Monday, the Union Home secretary wrote the letter to West Bengal secretariat.
The IMCT had extensively toured a total of seven districts in the state and have communicated their observations from time to time to the state government, Bhalla mentioned in the letter.
The two-page letter said that the stricter enforcement of lockdown was necessary and that problem has arisen due to the ostracism of healthcare professionals and lack of quarantine facilities in the state.
MHA wrote to Mamata Banerjee against dilution of lockdown
Even after repeated warning, Mamata Banerjee refuses to abstain. Prior to these warnings, the Ministry of Home Affairs had also written a letter to the West Bengal government calling out its irresponsibility and the gradual dilution of lockdown that is taking place in West Bengal. Written last month, the letter had cited certain areas like Metiabruz, Raja Bazaar, Narkel Danga, Topsia, Ikbalpul etc. which were not abiding the lockdown norms Incidentally, these areas have a high concentration of Muslim population.
It also mentions that “religious congregations” have been allowed in the state and the ration is being distributed by political leaders which may be leading to more infections of the Coronavirus.
The ministry had then demanded that strict action be taken and that a report be sent to the ministry regarding the matter.
IMCT slammed West Bengal government for its handling of coronavirus crisis
The Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) slammed the West Bengal government for its handling of the Wuhan Coronavirus crisis in its final observations regarding the state of affairs. Team Leader and Special Secretary to the Government of India, Apurva Chandra, in his letter to the Chief Secretary of the state asserted that the government had taken an antagonistic approach towards the team and has not supported it in its pursuit to carry out its duties. He also said that the testing rate was not up to the mark and indicated that the government led by Mamata Banerjee was fudging data, an accusation that has been levelled by numerous other people across the board. The letter also said that adequate systems were not in place to conduct surveillance in containment zones.