The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday said the West Bengal government is not cooperating with the central teams visiting the state to assess the COVID-19 situation and are specifically restraining them from interacting with health workers and touring the affected areas.
In a letter to West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said it has been brought to the notice of the ministry that both the inter-ministerial central teams, visiting Kolkata and Jalpaiguri, have not been provided with the requisite cooperation by the state and local authorities.
“In fact, they have been specifically restrained from making any visits, interacting with health professionals, and assessing the ground-level situation. “This amounts to obstructing the implementation of the orders issued by the central government under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and equally binding directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court,”Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said.
The union home secretary said, therefore, the state government is directed to comply to make all necessary arrangements for the central teams to carry out such responsibilities as have been entrusted to them. Home Ministry Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava also raised the issue at the daily media briefing on the COVID-19 situation in the country.
She said the Centre has sent teams under Disaster Management Act to four states — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.
While Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are extending full support, the government in West Bengal is not doing so, she added.