NEW DELHI: Taking note of alleged violations of lockdown guidelines, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to send 10 members two Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) to West Bengal, which will assess the ground situation and submit a report after visiting multiple locations in the State in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision has been taken after ground reports and intelligence inputs suggested that the West Bengal government and the local police are involved in the violation of lockdown guidelines.
A wake-up call by the MHA was given to West Bengal 10 days back when West Bengal was asked to follow the lockdown guidelines after the State government allegedly allowed a religious congregation, endangering the lives of people amid COVID-19 scare.
In its latest order of sending teams to West Bengal, the MHA has said that in some of the districts of the country a number of violations of the lockdown measures have been reported, posing a serious health hazard and risk for spread of COVID-19, which is against the general interest of the public.
"These violations are, inter alia, of the following types. incidents of violence on frontline healthcare professionals; complete violations of social distancing norms outside banks, PDS shops, etc., and in market places; movement of private and commercial vehicles with passengers in urban areas, and so on," the MHA has said.
"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," MHA says while ordering to send teams which will give a report to the Central government over the violation of lockdown guidelines.
On April 10, the MHA in its letter has said that that as per the reports received from security agencies, gradual dilution of lockdown has been reported from West Bengal, with an increase in the number of exemptions being provided by the State government.
"For instance shops relating to non-essential item have been allowed to function. There is no regulation in the vegetable, fish, mutton markets where people have been thronging in complete violation of social distancing norms," MHA has said while giving details of the locations.
The MHA has also said that police allowed a religious congregation and free ration has been distributed not through the institutional delivery system but by political leaders.
The IMCTs will make an on the spot assessment of the situation, issue necessary directions to the State authorities for the redressal of the situation, and submit their report to the Central government in the larger interest of the general public.
The Home Ministry has asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation to provide air transport and has asked West Bengal government to provide local transport, accommodation and other assistance to the team members.