The Union government has decided to send two Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) to West Bengal which will focus on the implementation of lockdown in the State. The teams will “make an on the spot assessment of the situation, issue necessary directions to the State authorities for redressal of the situation, and submit their report to the Central government in larger interest of general public” the communication from Ministry to Home Affairs to the State’s Chief Secretary said.
The communication, while pointing out that in some districts of the country a number of violations of lockdown measures have been reported, posing a serious health hazard and risk for the spread of COVID-19, stated that after analysing the prevalence of such violations in major hotspot districts, it is “clear to the Central government that the situation is especially serious in Kolkata, Howrah, Medinipur East, 24 Parganas North Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri districts in the State of West Bengal”.
The communication urged the State government to provide logistic support to the IMCTs and stated that the teams will also focus on issues like the supply of essential commodities, social distancing in the movement of people outside their homes, preparedness of heath infrastructure, hospital facilities and sample statistics in the districts, along with the safety of health professionals.
Mamata asks why
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “We welcome all constructive support & suggestions, especially from the Central Govt in negating the #Covid19 crisis. However, the basis on which Centre is proposing to deploy IMCTs in select districts across India including few in WB under Disaster Mgmt Act 2005 is unclear.”
She also said, “I urge both Honb’le Prime Minister @NarendraModi Ji & Home Minister @AmitShah Ji to share the criterion used for this. Until then I am afraid, we would not be able to move ahead on this as without valid reasons this might not be consistent with the spirit of federalism.”
Both teams will be led by an officer of the rank of Additional Secretary. While one team will take stock of the situation in Kolkata, Howrah, 24 Parganas North and Medinipur, the other will focus on districts of north Bengal like Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Kalimpong.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation will provide air transportation to the team to and from New Delhi. The State government has been asked to provide for their accommodation, transportation, PPEs (personal protective equipment) as well as cooperation for their visit to local areas, and production of documents and records as requested by ICMTs.