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West Bengal obstructing works of central teams: MHA

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday accused West Bengal of obstructing the works of Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) set up to monitor implementation of lockdown, supply of essential goods and other related issues in the state.

The Inter Ministerial teams who visited Kolkata and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal on Monday are not getting cooperation from state government and local administration, said a Joint Secretary in the MHA while addressing a press briefing here.

The official said that the six-member IMCT are being stopped from visiting areas in Kolkata and Jalpaiguri where the situation is serious as per the the Home Ministry’s report. “The IMCT is neither being allowed to interact with health workers in the state nor to take information of ground level situations in the areas,” the official said.

“This is the violation of Disaster Management Act, 2005.”

In this regard, the official said the Home Ministry on Tuesday issued a letter to the state to follow the April 19 order issued by the Ministry and ensure all necessary arrangements so that the IMCT could complete their task without any problem. The Centre on Monday announced that Indore, Mumbai, Jaipur and Kolkata are among 11 cities in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal where COVID-19 “situation is specially serious”.

The Home Ministry made the announcement after analyzing the prevalence of lockdown violations in major hotspot districts in these cities of the four states. As per the ministry, the situation is specially serious in Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Mumbai and Pune (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Kolkata, Howrah, Medinipur East, 24 Parganas North, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. To deal with the growing menace, the government had constituted six IMCTs to focus on the implementation of and compliance with the lockdown measures as per the guidelines, supply of essential goods and other related issues.

The six IMCTs include two each for West Bengal and Maharashtra and one each for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to make on-spot assessment of situation and issue necessary directions to state authorities for its redressal and submit their report to central government in larger interest of general public. The committees have been constituted by the central government in exercise of the powers conferred under the Disaster Management Act 2005.

The IMCTs will focus their assessment on the compliance and implementation of lockdown measures as per guidelines and they will also focus on issues like the supply of essential commodities, social distancing in movement of people outside their homes, preparedness of the health infrastructure, hospital facility and sample statistics in the district, safety of health professionals, availability of test kits, PPEs, masks and other safety equipment, and conditions of the relief camps for labour and poor people.

–IANS

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