KOLKATA: Apurva Chandra, the leader of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) to help the Mamata Banerjee government contain the spread of COVID-19, wrote two strong-worded letters to chief secretary Rajiva Sinha on Saturday expressing concern. Chandra said in his letter, the state government gave half-hour notice for a visit to hospitals, quarantine centres and containment zones.
He also accused the state government of violating the MHA order as the chief secretary issued statements saying senior officers of the state government cannot waste their time accompanying the IMCT. Chandra accused the state government of not responding to its four letters that were sent since the team landed in Bengal on April 20 and not providing PPEs while visiting hospitals and quarantine centers. He also asked Banerjee’s government whether it would take responsibility for the safety and security of the IMCT and the state will allow BSF to take action in the absence of police support.
“The Chief Secretary... has been widely reported in the media of having said in his daily press conference that the IMCT is free to visit anywhere and senior officers of the state government cannot waste their time accompanying the IMCT. The above stand is on violation of the order of the MHA...,’’ Chandra wrote. The team leader also sought a reply from Sinha on a police officer’s act asking the IMCT not to leave the BSF guesthouse campus on April 21.
“Whether it is a fact that a DCP of West Bengal police informed BSF officers at BSF guest house on 21.04.2020 that the IMCT cannot leave the campus without the permission of the state government as lockdown is in force and the IMCT if it leaves the BSF guest house is only permitted to go to the airport,’’ Chandra inquired in the letter, a copy of which was forwarded to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla. The other team in north Bengal, too, wrote to Sinha and the divisional commissioner asking to take immediate measure to ensure stricter implementation of lockdown.
Vineet Joshi, the team leader, said in the letter that additional data sought from the divisional commissioner and district magistrate of Darjeeling is still awaited and a meeting sought with the police commissioner could not materialise as discussed. Reacting to the allegations, the Trinamool described the two teams as “India’s Most Callous Team”, which, it said, has sought to spread the political virus “shamelessly”.
Safety of team in Bengal Apurva Chandra, the leader of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team asked Banerjee’s government whether it would take responsibility for the safety and security of the IMCT and the state will allow BSF to take action in the absence of police support.