The Ministry of Home Affairs has flagged yet another concern for the state of West Bengal as Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to the state's Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha on Wednesday. In his letter, Bhalla cited that the state's response to COVID-19 is characterized by a very low rate of testing in proportion to the population. The Home Secretary highlighted that the rate of mortality due to COVID-19 in the state is 13.2% which is by far the highest in any state of the country.
Bhalla also stated that the high mortality rate in the state, reflects poor surveillance, detection and testing. The Home Secretary stressed that there is a need to increase random testing in crowded clusters. So far, the state has reported 1,344 positive cases of the Coronavirus and 140 deaths. The state has also witnessed 364 recoveries from the infection.
Ministry of Home Affairs Secy Ajay Bhalla has written to West Bengal Chief Secy Rajiv Sinha saying,"Response to COVID19 in West Bengal is characterized by very low rate of testing in proportion to population&very high rate of mortality of 13.2% by far highest of any state". (1/2)— ANI (@ANI) May 6, 2020
Furthermore, Ajay Bhalla highlighted lockdown violations in Kolkata and Howrah by specific groups in specific localities with media reports of 'Corona warriors', including police being attacked and called for stricter enforcement of lockdown. The Home Secretary was referring to the April 30 incident in Howrah's Tikiapara, where locals chased and attacked police personnel on duty, injuring two of the officials. However, on Tuesday, the West Bengal police had informed that it had made 14 arrests in the case, including the main 'instigator'.
Earlier in the day, the Home Secretary had written to the Mamata Banerjee-led administration on the closure of the border with Bangladesh. The MHA had said that the Mamata government has taken unilateral action to stop cross-border movement of essential goods along the border with Bangladesh, adding that the decision will have larger international implications. Directing the state government to open the border, MHA has said that a large number of trucks carrying essential supplies to Bangladesh are stranded at different border crossing points, and such action by the state is a violation of the Disaster Management Act.