Three days after landing in West Bengal as per instructions from the Ministry of Home Affairs, two groups of an Inter Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) on Thursday checked COVID-19 hotspots, hospitals and quarantine centres.
A group visited a quarantine centre in Rajarhat New town area of Kolkata. This was followed by a visit to M.R. Bangur Hospital, which is serving as a primary COVID-19 hospital in the State. The group, led by Apurva Chandra, additional secretary, Ministry of Defence, spoke to the hospital authorities about the treatment provided and its preparedness to accommodate more patients.
On Wednesday, Mr. Chandra wrote to Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha seeking a detailed presentation from the Health Department on the COVID-19 situation. He also said the IMCT would like to visit some hospitals, quarantine centres, hotspots and market places.
Another group of the ICMT visited an apartment near North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, where several residents had tested positive. The team, led by Vineet Joshi, additional secretary Ministry of Human Resource and Development, visited a quarantine centre at Siliguri. “We are getting the cooperation of the State government from today. We have asked a detailed report from it and learning about the situation on ground,” Mr. Joshi told journalists.
In both Kolkata and north Bengal, State officials accompanied the ICMT groups.
‘Providing all support to IMCT’
Mr. Sinha told journalists that cooperation to the IMCT groups was being provided. The State was not telling the two Central teams that they cannot visit different areas in the State. “Today, they have informed us that they want to visit certain areas. We are looking into where they want to go,” he said.
The IMCT that landed on April 20 initially got little cooperation from the State. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, describing the Central team’s visit as “unilateral”.
Meanwhile, after Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla’s letter on April 21, claimed that the State was not cooperating with the IMCT , the Chief Secretary sent a letter to the Ministry promising all cooperation and saying that they had shared up-to-date reports with the Centre
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