‘IMCT Visiting WB to Spread Political Virus’: TMC’s Derek O’Brien

The state government is expected to provide logistical support, the letter written to state chief secretary stated.

3 min read
File image of TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

The ruling Trinamool Congress on Saturday, 25 April, described the two inter-ministerial central teams (IMCT) visiting West Bengal to assess the COVID-19 situation as "India's Most Callous Team", which, it said, has sought to spread the political virus "shamelessly".

The central teams have been visiting hospitals and quarantine centres and meeting officials in Kolkata and Siliguri.

"As expected, IMCT's visit to Bengal has served no purpose. Visiting districts with no hotspots, asking Bengal for audit committee, already been in place since early April," TMCs leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien said in a tweet.

"Their real aim is to spread the political virus. They are doing it shamelessly, Blatantly. Take your pick, IMCT = India's Most Callous Team IMCT = I Must Cause Trouble (in Bengal)," he tweeted.

IMCT Leader Complains of ‘Non-Cooperation’

In a letter dated 25 April, the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) leader in West Bengal had complained of non-cooperation by the West Bengal government and lack of sufficient security provided by the state, ANI reported.

The letter addressed to the state chief secretary Rajiva Sinha, and signed by Apurva Chandra, additional secretary to GOI and team leader, mentioned that the team has been in Kolkata since 20 April and has written four letters to the government till date.

“No response has been received to any of the letters till date,” the letter added.

The letter further mentioned that the state chief secretary’s stand on IMCT is that it is free to visit anywhere and senior officers of the state government cannot waste their time as it is “in violation of the order of the Ministry of Home Affairs.”

The state government is expected to provide logistical support and help in field visits, the letter stated. It further questioned if the state government will take responsibility of the security of IMCT if it moves around without any police escort.

“Whether it is fact that IMCT has ever asked that senior officers of the state government should accompany IMCT. In fact, on the visit of 24 April, only the junior level officers of the health department accompanied the IMCT. The only expectation of the IMCT is that doctors and officers at the venue should meet provide information to the IMCT,” the letter reads.

IMCT’s Observations on Howrah Visit

In another letter, on observations made by the IMCT on its visit from Friday, 24 April, to Howrah district, the team raised issues with quarantine centres and surveillance zones. It also enquire about PPE stock and contact tracing or quarantining of individuals who returned from Delhi's Markaz event.

In the Damorjala quarantine centre, inmates expressed satisfaction about food and stay arrangements, however, they expressed apprehension towards people being taken in “a cramped van” to get tested without proper social distancing being maintained, the letter stated.

The IMCT was told that health workers are not a part of the surveillance team and were likely to join on Monday. It further asked that the team should be provided with complete data on surveillance carried out in containment zones like number of households and individuals affected among others.

It further asked for information on availability of PPEs and other safety equipments for health workers at all COVID-19 hospitals.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata had earlier slammed the Centre for sending the teams to look into the state's preparedness for tackling the COVID-19 outbreak and alleged that faulty testing kits were dispatched to the state.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

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