MHA directs Bengal govt not to obstruct Central Covid-19 teams in state
The letter complains that the teams at Kolkata and Jalpaiguri have been restrained from taking any visits, interacting with professionals and assessing ground-level situation in the stateUpdated: Apr 21, 2020 18:23 IST
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday shot off a letter to the Bengal government directing it to allow the two interministerial central teams sent to review implementation of lockdown measures in select districts to carry out their duties.
The teams comprise public health specialists and officers of disaster management authority, the letter adds, whose expertise can be leveraged by the state for managing the Covid-19 pandemic.
The letter further complains that the teams at Kolkata and Jalpaiguri have not been provided with requisite cooperation by state and local authorities. They have been restrained from taking any visits, interacting with professionals and assessing ground-level situation in the state, the letter alleges.
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“This amounts to obstructing the implementation of the orders issued by the central government under the Disaster Management Act and the directions of the Supreme Court,” the letter says.
It urged the government to allow Central teams to work freely.
“You are therefore directed to comply with the order and make necessary arrangements to the teams to carry out such responsibilities that been entrusted on them,” it said.
The Trinamool Congress, on its part, alleged that while the states in India were fighting a battle against novel coronavirus, the Narendra Modi-led Central government was fighting some states instead of fighting the virus.
“About 70%-80% of the districts chosen for the Central teams’ visits are from states ruled by opposition parties. Why no district from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat is part of the list?” O’Brien, who is party’s Rajya Sabha member, asked.
Two teams from the union government landed in Kolkata on Monday to visit seven districts to review implementation of the lockdown and moves taken by the health administration. Objecting to the visit, chief minister Mamata Banerjee termed the Centre’s decision as ‘unilateral’ and ‘undesirable’.