Amid the ongoing tussle between the Mamata Banerjee government and the Centre, the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) has written a letter to State Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha requesting a detailed presentation from the health department to asses the containment of novel Coronavirus outbreak in hotspot zones of the State. The Centre had deployed the team on Monday to assess the ground situation in four districts — Kolkata, 24 North Parganas, Howrah and Midnapore East.
The letter acknowledged that the State government has now decided to extend full cooperation to the IMCT and so would request a detailed presentation from the Health Department on the following aspects:
The IMCT has also sought information of the arrangements for identifying and quarantining people in such centres, the supply of essential commodities, condition of relief camps enforcement of lockdown procedures and social distancing. The team has also asked the government to tell them about problems faced in the implementation of lockdown norms, availability of testing kits and other things that require the Centre's help.
"The IMCT would like to visit some of the hospitals, quarantine centres, hotspots and market places during opening hours... and directly interact with health professionals, inmates and the general public," the letter said. The IMTC has asked to be accompanied by health and local authorities instead of just police officers.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier claimed she was kept in "dark" about the visit of central teams to assess the COVID-19 situation. The Centre on Monday has constituted six Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) to make an on-spot assessment of the COVID-19 situation in hotspots and issue necessary directions to four states, including Bengal. That irked the Mamata government which saw it as an unwarranted intervention in the State's efforts. The Bengal government finally allowed the team to operate in Kolkata, despite strong reservations.
(PTI Photo of Rajiv Sinha)