Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata: Even as two inter-ministerial central teams (IMCT) landed in Kolkata on Monday, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee questioned the criteria followed by the Union home ministry (MHA), to send the teams to 7 Covid hotspot districts.

The teams will make spot-assessments of the situation to report it to the Centre. After the MHA wrote to the West Bengal Chief Secretary about their decision, Mamata hit out at the Centre on social media. “We welcome all constructive support and suggestions, especially from the central government in negating the Covid-19 crisis.

However, the basis on which the Centre is proposing to deploy IMCTs in select districts across India including few in West Bengal under Disaster Mgmt. Act 2005 is unclear,” tweeted Mamata Banerjee. The tweet added, “I urge both honourable PM and Home Minister Amit Shah to share the criterion used for this.

Until then I am afraid, we would not be able to move ahead on this as without valid reasons this might not be consistent with the spirit of federalism.” Later in the day, Mamata wrote to PM saying it was a breach of protocol as the ICMTs reached Kolkata at 10.10am by a special cargo flight but Union home minister Amit Shah spoke to Mamata at 1pm.

“While I appreciate the proactiveness shown by the central government in sending their teams to West Bengal, the same was done without prior intimation and hence is a breach of established protocol,” read the letter.

Mamata added, “While as per the above order, the state government was supposed to provide the logistics arrangement, the central teams kept the state in the dark and approached central forces like BSF, SSB for the logistics support and reached the field without any consultation with the state government.”

The letter added the Centre’s observations of number of lockdown violations in West Bengal and some areas being more serious is devoid of facts and that there is no credibility to the claim. Chief secretary Rajiv Singha told reporters, “If anyone (ICMT) wants to come to the state and asks for information, we will always help.

We do not know on what basis Centre has decided the zones where they are going that also without any communication with us. Health is a state subject, but pandemic is national. If the Centre issues an order why wouldn’t we do it but there have been cases, they have gone to field directly. That is, we cannot accept and need reasons for allowing them to enter our state.”

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