Opposing the Centre's intervention in West Bengal's Coronavirus (COVID-19) battle, TMC leader Derek O'Brien on Tuesday said that the centre is on 'adventurous tourism'. This statement comes after the centre constituted six IMCTs, two each for West Bengal and Maharashtra and one each for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan "to make an on-spot assessment of the situation and issue necessary directions to state authorities for its redressal and submit their report to Central Government in the larger interest of the general public".
O'Brien questioned PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the parameters by which the states have been selected.
"If you wanted adventurous tourism without informing the state government, calling up Chief Minister three hours after you have arrived and the Chief Secretary half an hour before, then that is not the spirit of federalism. What were the parameters by which the states have been selected (selection of states to send a central team there)? What are the criteria for selecting these states? We want to ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah," he said in a video conference.
"Anybody who wants to come to Bengal to help the people and to further improve whatever we have already done is welcome. But it has to be done through a process. If you don't follow it, you make things difficult for yourself," he added.
Earlier West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that till PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah share the criterion for such an intervention, she will not comply as this goes again federalism.
On April 20, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has set up six inter-ministerial central teams to assess lockdown violations and implementations in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. “Situation especially serious in Indore (MP); Mumbai & Pune (Maharashtra); Jaipur (Rajasthan); and Kolkata, Howrah, Medinipur East, 24 Parganas North, Darjeeling, Kalimpong & Jalpaiguri (West Bengal),” the home ministry spokesperson said. The team will on-spot assessment of the situation, issue necessary directions and submit their report to Central Government.
The state has seen several lockdown violations for past two weeks - notably in Murshidabad and Hooghly were several people gathered at a mosque to offer Friday prayers. Though police had dispersed the crowd immediately, CM Mamata Banerjee has taken cognizance of the repeated violations in that district and has directed the Murshidabad DIG to stop such gatherings. The MHA too has written to Banerjee highlighting that the lockdown guidelines were being violated in several parts of the state, stating that the West Bengal government had allowed more exemptions leading to a gradual dilution of the lockdown.