KOLKATA: A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed she was kept in "dark" about the visit of central teams to assess the COVID-19 situation, the leader of one of the panels claimed the state government is not extending adequate cooperation.
The central government has constituted six Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) to make an on-spot assessment of the COVID-19 situation in these places and issue necessary directions to the four states -- Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal -- for redress.
The Union home ministry said on Monday morning the COVID-19 situation is "especially serious" in Mumbai, Pune, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata and a few other places in West Bengal, and that the violation of lockdown measures risk the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Apurva Chandra, the leader of one of the two teams sent to the state, claimed its members were told they "will not be going out" on Tuesday.
Chandra, an Additional secretary in the Defence Ministry, said, "We have been deployed by the central government and our order of deployment says that the state government is to provide logistic(al) support to us...I have been in touch with the chief secretary and seeking his support since the time I landed here.
"I had also met him yesterday. But today we have been informed that there are some issues so we are not going out today. The chief secretary is likely to visit us and we will again hold a meeting with him," he told a TV news channel.
Chandra said the team had made it clear that it would be moving out with state government officers in order to make the visit more productive.
"But now it is more than one day and we have only visited NICED (an ICMR facility) and the state secretariat only," he said.
Banerjee had on Monday expressed her displeasure in a series of tweets and sought to know the rationale behind the formation of central teams to visit the states.
She urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to share with her the criteria to be followed by the teams for the assessment of the situation, without which her government "would not be able to move ahead".