KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister on Monday described the Centre’s midnight order allowing shopkeepers to open their outlets in safe zones during the national lockdown as a ‘confusing’ order that lacks clarity.
“They (central government) are sending circulars without consulting us. The lockdown is in place across the state and we are trying our best to implement it. According to the government circular, traders can run their business in some of the pockets which are not considered as ‘containment zones’. If shops are open, people will come out to buy their requirements. When people will start coming out, the lockdown norms will get violated automatically. The order is confusing and lacks clarity,’’ Banerjee said.
Pointing out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion in favour of extending the lockdown, Banerjee said her government has decided to impose the restrictions across the state till May 21.
"But we will give relaxations in green zones mapped by the state health department. The government has decided to give a nod to supply non-essential commodities online,’’ she said.
In another move, the chief minister said if any person suspects that he or she came in touch with a coronavirus positive patient, the state government will allow them to stay in home quarantine.
"Fearing the 14-day observation at quarantine centres run by the state government, many people may suppress their association with a COVID-19 patient. We will allow them to stay in home quarantine with a condition that he or she will have to inform us. So that we can monitor the person’s condition and provide medical assistance,’’ she said.
Hitting out at the Centre for sending Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) to Bengal, Banerjee asked what prompted the government to take that decision.
“The central teams are asking senior state government officials to meet them every day. It is not possible. Our entire state machinery is fighting against the pandemic. They have come here for non-cooperation, not to assist us,’’ she said.
Two central teams visited East Midnapore district and parts of north Bengal on Monday.
The officials visiting north Bengal alleged that the lockdown norms are not being followed in many parts in the region.
Banerjee on Monday announced her government will initiate efforts to bring back the people of Bengal, including the students in Kota, stuck in different parts of the country due to the lockdown.