Kolkata, April 20 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the Inter Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) were sent to the state without prior intimation, causing ‘breach of established protocol’, besides dubbing the Union government’s selection of districts with ‘serious’ Covid-19 situation as ‘unilateral’ and a ‘figment of imagination’.
Banerjee’s missive came after two IMCT delegations landed in Kolkata and North Bengal’s Jalpaiguri during the day.
The Chief Minister pointed out that Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to her at 1 p.m. regarding the IMCTs, even though the teams had landed at the Kolkata airport much before the conversation, at about 10.10 a.m.
She said the Union Home Ministry order dated April 19 addressed to the state Chief Secretary reached only 30 minutes before the teams arrived.
“While I appreciate the proactiveness shown by the Central government in sending the teams to West Bengal, the same was done without prior intimation and hence is a breach of established protocol, ” she said.
The Home Ministry in a communication claimed that violation of lockdown measures were reported from some districts in the country, posing a serious health hazard and risk for spread of Covid-19.
It said, “The situation is especially serious in Kolkata, Howrah, Medinipur East, North 24 Parganas, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri districts in the state of West Bengal.”
Refuting the Centre’s allegation, Banerjee said: “These observations are devoid of any fact and do not lend any credibility to the claim.
“For example, out of the districts identified, Kalimpong reported the last infection on April 2. Similarly, the last incident of infection in Jalpiaguri was reported on April 4 and in Darjeeling on April 16,” she said in the letter.
Banerjee said the selection of the districts and the observations made “unilaterally” are “nothing but a figment of imagination and unfortunate”.
Banerjee said her state was pro-active in announcing lockdown even before the Central government declared it.
Even before the extension to the lockdown on April 14, the state had extended it up to April 30, she said.
Banerjee said the Centre’s action was ‘not desirable’.
“I am sure that you will kindly agree that such unilateral action on the part of Central government is not desirable at all, especially in the backdrop when both the Central and the state governments are working relentlessly round the clock to contain the Covid-19 crisis,” she said.