COVID-19 Lockdown violations : Centre set up teams against Maharashtra and 5 other states

Corona Virus

Delhi : Taking a tough stance against large-scale violations of home ministry lockdown guidelines in Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, Indore, Kolkata and other places in West Bengal, the union home ministry constituted six inter-ministerial central teams to visit these areas for an on-spot assessment of the situation.

While appointing the central team, the home ministry said that if necessary, the team would give directions to the state authorities for redressal and submit a report to the Central government in the interest of the general public. The teams will focus on compliance and implementation of lockdown measures as per guidelines, supply of essential commodities, social distancing, the preparedness of the health infrastructure, safety of health professionals and conditions of the relief camps for labour and poor people.in the interest of the general public. The teams will focus on compliance and implementation of lockdown measures as per guidelines, supply of essential commodities, social distancing, the preparedness of the health infrastructure, safety of health professionals and conditions of the relief camps for labour and poor people.

Violations to lockdown measures have been reported, which pose a serious health hazard to public and risk for spread of COVID- 19. There have been incidents of violence on frontline healthcare professionals, complete violations of social distancing norms and movement of vehicles in urban areas.

Home Ministry has urged States and Union Territories to ensure strict compliance and implementation of revised consolidated guidelines on lockdown measures without any dilution to fight COVID-19. In a letter to states, the Ministry observed that certain states are allowing activities not permitted under Home Ministry guidelines.

Each team will comprise 5 members and shall be led by an additional secretary-level officer. The home ministry said the central team will commence these visits at the earliest and no later than 3 days after April 19, the date of issue of its order. The duration of the visit will be decided by the team leader after assessing the ground-level situation. The teams shall focus on complaints of implementation of lockdown measures as per guidelines, supply of essential commodities, social distancing, the preparedness of health infrastructure, the safety of health professionals and conditions of the relief camps for labour and poor people. They will also the sample statistics in the district, the safety of health professionals, availability of test kits, masks and other safety equipment.

Pointing to the large-scale violations in the districts of concern — Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra; Jaipur in Rajasthan; Indore in Madhya Pradesh; and Kolkata, Howrah, 24 Parganas, Medinipur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Kalimpong in West Bengal, the home ministry said that if the incidents of violations are allowed to occur without any restraining measures in hotspot districts or emerging hotspots or even places where large outbreaks or clusters may be expected, they would pose a serious health hazard, both for the population of these districts and for that living in other areas of the country.

On the other hand, the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to explain why the Centre wants to send a team to Bengal to examine violations and dilutions of the coronavirus lockdown.

Shortly after the home ministry announced this in an order, the Bengal Chief Minister tweeted, saying until the Prime Minister and the home minister shared why the decision was taken, her state would not be able to cooperate. “We welcome all constructive support and suggestions, especially from the central government in negating the #Covid19 crisis. However, the basis on which centre is proposing to deploy IMCTs (Inter-Ministerial Central Teams) in select districts across India, including a few in West Bengal is unclear,” Banerjee tweeted on Monday.

In Bengal, police team came under attack at Tangra in Kolkata. People defied lockdown, pelted stones and attacked at the COVID-19 warriors.