Take strict action against violations: MHA to West Bengal chief secretary and DGP


NEW DELHI: Taking serious note of alleged dilution of
lockdown measures and disregard of ‘social distancing’ norms in
West Bengal, the home ministry has written to the state chief secretary seeking strict action against these violations and prevention of their recurrence.

This is the second such missive to West Bengal regarding
violation of lockdown measures, the first having been sent on April 4. The ministry, in a letter written to the state chief secretary and
DGP on Friday, said it has received further reports from the security agencies indicating a gradual dilution of lockdown in West Bengal, with an increase in the number of exceptions being provided by the state government.

“For instance, shops relating to non-essential items have been allowed to function. There is no regulation in vegetable, fish and mutton markets where people have been thronging in complete violation of social distancing norms in Rajabazaar, Narkel Danga, Topsia, Metiaburz, Gardenreach, Ikbalpur and
Maniktala in Kolkata. Siginificantly, areas such as Narkel Danga are reportedly witnessing more COVID-19-like cases,” a deputy secretary in home ministry stated in the letter.

The officer said that the state police had been allowing religious congregations in disregard of home ministry guidelines on the lockdown that bar all religious gatherings without any exception. The ministry added that free rations was being distributed in West Bengal not through the institutional delivery system but by political leaders. “This May have resulted in spread of Covid-19 infection,” the MHA officer pointed out.

Stating that the aforesaid activities were in violation of the ministry’s orders issued from time to time under the
Disaster Management Act, 2005 and liable for penal action under the Act, the home ministry requested that strict action be taken in the matter and a report in this regard furnished to it urgently. “It is further requested to take measures to prevent recurrence of such violations in future,” the ministry added.

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