After Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha flagging concerns on low COVID-19 testing rate and "very high" mortality rate in the State and lockdown violations in Kolkata, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly said the situation arose because the State government was in a denial mode since the beginning of the outbreak. She blamed this as a reason for rising death toll and containment zones in Bengal.
"After the Central team arrived, they compelled the (State) officers to reveal the facts. Constrictive steps not being taken her. MPLAD money from Opposition is not being properly used. This explains the kind of ego the Chief Minister is having. They don't want to work with the Centre, just do publicity and shenanigans with food relief," Roopa Ganguly told Republic TV.
The BJP leader further said that the CM and her ministers have made "distasteful comments" on the State's Governor Jagdeep Dhankar when he has extended help. "In such times, they should seek help from the Governor, take his suggestion and engage. Whereas, the CM and others have made terrible comments on him. One takes a little time to digest such nasty behaviour."
In his letter, Ajay Bhalla cited that West Bengal'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.
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'.