The Centre has constituted six Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs)— two each for West Bengal and Maharashtra and one each for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday asked the Centre to explain the basis on which it had decided to deploy central teams in her state. She said she would not be able to move ahead on inter-ministerial central teams as the basis of it was not clear. The TMC chief said that she welcomed all constructive support and suggestions, especially from the central government in negating the coronavirus crisis. “However, the basis on which Centre is proposing to deploy IMCTs in select districts across India including few in West Bengal under Disaster Management Act 2005 is unclear,” She said.
The Chief Minister urged both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to share the criterion used for the decision. Until then, Banerjee said, she would not be able to move ahead on the proposal as without valid reasons that might not be consistent with the spirit of federalism.
West Bengal CM’s letter to PM Modi further states, “Central teams kept the state government in complete dark and had approached central forces like BSF & SSB for logistics support and had already moved in the field without any consultation with the state government”. #COVID19 https://t.co/TPDhjfxeq4
— ANI (@ANI) April 20, 2020
The statement comes just hours after the Centre constituted six Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs)— two each for West Bengal and Maharashtra and one each for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. As per the Home Ministry, the teams will make on-spot assessment of situation and issue necessary directions to states for its redressal and submit their report to Centre.
In a statement, the Home Ministry had said that the situation was especially serious in Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Mumbai and Pune (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Kolkata, Howrah, 24 Parganas North, Medinipur East, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. Underlining the functions of the teams, the ministry said that the teams will focus on complaints of implementation of lockdown measures, supply of essential commodities, social distancing, preparedness of health infrastructure, safety of health professionals and conditions of the relief camps for labour and poor people.
Mamata Banerjee has also written to Prime Minister Modi objecting to visits made by the newly-constitute central teams earlier today. In a letter to the PM, Banerjee said that the home minister had spoken to him at about 1 pm but teams had already landed in Kolkata, much before the conversation. She further said that the central teams kept the state government in complete dark and had approached central forces like BSF and SSB for logistics support and had already moved in the field without any consultation with the state government”.
So far, West Bengal has reported 339 cases of positive coronavirus.