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After intense deadlock, Bengal’s CM Mamta allow centre to conduct inspection in the state

After the tussle between Bengal Government led by Trinamool Congress (TMC)and the Central Government for the visit of Inter-Ministerial Central teams (IMCT) to West Bengal, the West Bengal government on Tuesday eventually removed the restrictions on the motion of inter-ministerial central teams (IMCTs) team to conduct inspection of the lockdown violations in the state. The central team was made to wait hours long before the Union Home Ministry arbitrated and sent a strong worded letter to the state government.

Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said,”They said they have to travel to certain areas within the town . We told them that we will provide local officers and they can visit places in the city which they chose. Our government stand remains the same. Given the scenario, Centre should have consulted us before sending these teams.” Further he said that such conflicts between the state and Centre was not desirable.

TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien termed the team’s visit to the state as “adventure tourism” and accused the Centre of “fighting” with states while the home ministry alleged the state government of being non cooperative.

“We really believe that in a national health emergency, politics should be left far out of this. However, while states, including Bengal, are going all out to fight the coronavirus outbreak, it is unfortunate that the central government is going all out to fight the states. Is this is the spirit of federalism?” O’ Brien said on Tuesday”, said by O’ Brien on Tuesday.
Further he added, “We really need to know what are the parameters on the thought of which these states were selected…what is that the idea , criteria for selecting these? We want to ask the Prime Minister and the home minister. Five out of six (teams) are in Opposition states”.

Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla’s letter came hours after to the Bengal government when TMC, the ruling party termed the Centre’s action as an “anti-federal campaign”. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, too reverted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that Centre’s ‘unilateral decision’ to send the teams was ‘undesirable’ and a ‘breach of established protocol’.

The home ministry letter said that the state and local authorities were non cooperative with ICMT teams in Kolkata and Jalpaiguri and impeded from visiting hot spots or communicating with professionals.

The letter stated appealing the state to allow the central teams to work freely, “This amounts to obstructing the implementation of the orders issued by the central government under the disaster management act and the directions of the Supreme Court.

The state government removed the restrictions and police check posts almost 30 hours after the Central team arrived at Kolkata on Monday, but, not prior to the Union Home Ministry sent yet another letter to the State government commanding it to make all requisite arrangements for the IMCTs to carry out their responsibilities smoothly.

It said, ” you’re therefore directed to suits the order and make necessary arrangements to the teams to carry out such responsibilities that been entrusted on them”.
Central teams are sent to Pune in Maharashtra, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Kolkata, Howrah, Midnapur East, 24 Parganas North, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh’s Indore.

Out of the seven districts of centre’s watch-list, four in south Bengal are under ‘red zone’ – with the maximum cases — and three in north Bengal are in the orange zone, with fewer cases.

Abhishek Banerjee, Banerjee’s nephew and The TMCs youth wing chief inculpated the Centre and said “You cripple GoWB with faulty kits from ICMR & then send IMCTs to monitor GoWB’s performance while keeping the state govt within the dark”.
Trinamool’s Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, “The number of testing within the state had increased to 400 tests per day on a mean which it’d increase to 600 per day onwards Tuesday.”

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