West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha on Thursday tried to dispel the allegation that the Mamata Banerjee-led government in the state was not cooperating with the Centre when it came to combating the Coronavirus outbreak. This comes a day after, the West Bengal government finally permitted the Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) sent by MHA to conduct a field visit of the COVID-19 hotspot districts of Kolkata and Jalpaiguri with the state police and pilot cars of the Border Security Force.
"We have always responded to the queries from ICMR, Home Secretary, Ministry of Health or from any place. Tomorrow if I say that Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has to come here physically to find out an answer from me, what is the logic of this?" Sinha said in defence.
On Tuesday, the West Bengal Chief Secretary had written to the MHA about his apprehensions over sending the teams without prior intimations to the state government that led to a lack of prior arrangements and logistic support for the teams."With the whole technology where we can talk to each other at five minutes' notice, we can talk to each other over the phone, they can see what is happening through satellite, direct and indirect indicators. Why should they come here and expect us to cooperate?" Rajiva Sinha further asked.
Rajiva Sinha also added that the opening of the lockdown in the state on May 4 could pose as a 'big challenge' since 70% coronavirus cases in India are asymptomatic. West Bengal has reported 423 coronavirus cases, 335 are active cases as of Wednesday, 73 have recovered and 15 have died.
"In India, close to 70 percent of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic. Doctors are also worried as to how to identify them. If the lockdown is lifted on May 4, then this will be a big challenge. We have not decided anything that will happen after May 3," said the West Bengal Chief Secretary.