KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government on Friday described the Union Health Ministry's list of 10 Bengal districts as red zones to be an "erroneous" assessment. The state health department shot a letter to the Union health ministry saying only four districts of the state have been categorized as red zones based on the parameters of Government of India.
In the letter, the Bengal health department attached a list of districts under red, orange and green zones categories. It also mentioned the district-wise coronavirus positive cases and the date of receiving the last case of infection.
As the second phase of lockdown nears its end, the central government prepared the list of red, orange and green zones across the country after cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba’s video conference with the chief secretaries and secretaries of state health departments on April 30. Based on the incidence of cases, of COVID-19, doubling rate, extent of testing and surveillance feedback, 10 districts in West Bengal have been mapped as red zones by the Centre. The number of districts under orange and green zone categories are five and eight respectively.
Preeti Sudan, secretary to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, wrote, "Some states have raised issues on the inclusion of certain districts in the red zone. I would like to highlight that this is a dynamic list. This list will be revised every week and communicated to states for further follow-up action in consonance with the directions issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act,2005."
Objecting to the Centre’s assessment, Vivek Kumar, the principal secretary of health and family welfare department, replied to Sudan saying, "This is an erroneous assessment. Based on the current parameters of Government of India for categorization of areas for COVID-19, the districts in the red zone are only four: Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur."
In the letter, Kumar mapped eight districts in green-zone and 11 in orange-zone.
Referring to the state’s objection, Bengal BJP hit out at Mamata Banerjee’s government by accusing it of suppressing actual figure of the infected persons and COVID-19 death toll.
"Frequent incidents of the state government’s effort to cremate bodies of those who died of COVID-19 have come to light after the people who live near the crematoriums put up a resistance. West Bengal is the only state where an audit committee has been set up to ascertain the cause of death of a COVID-19 patient," said state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh.