GUWAHATI: Alarmed by the high rate of COVID-19 infection among personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Tripura, the Centre has decided to send a team of experts from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to the state.
Official sources in Tripura confirmed the team would visit the state soon. The state government had earlier sent requests to the Centre to get the cases studied. The matter was apparently discussed through video conferencing with Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday.
The BSF, however, expressed ignorance on the team’s visit. “Nothing has been conveyed to us as yet,” BSF spokesman CL Belwa told this newspaper.
Over a period of last eight days, as many as 121 personnel, their 10 family members, including five children, and a BSF civilian mess worker, were the 132 people from two BSF battalions in Dhalai district who tested positive.
A woman and a jawan of Tripura State Rifles were the state’s first two cases. Following their recovery last month, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had declared the state as COVID-19 free.
The two BSF battalion headquarters are located at the same complex that has since been declared a containment zone. There is a vacuum there as the offices are not functioning. The two battalions have around 1,200-1,300 personnel. Some 800 of them are deployed on the India-Bangladesh border.
Belwa said the troops guarding the border in the district were in touch with senior officers. He said necessary directions were being passed on to them through telephone and radio communications.
“Everything is fine on the border. The neighbouring district of Dhalai in Bangladesh is Khagrachari. The area is forested, falling under the Chittagong Hill Tracts. There’s no population of Bangladeshis on the border there. There are no trans-border crimes either as there’s a similar lockdown clamped in Bangladesh and Army personnel are moving around,” the BSF spokesman added.