West Bengal has the highest rate of coronavirus fatalities, the Home Ministry said on May 6, in a letter to state chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
In a memo to the West Bengal government, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also pointed out that the state has “very low rate of testing in proportion to the population, and a very high rate of mortality of 13.2 percent, by far the highest for any state”.
"This is a reflection of poor surveillance, detection and testing in the state. There is also a need to increase random testing in crowded clusters," the letter stated further.
In the letter, written to West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that lockdown violations have been noted in the cities of Kolkata and Howrah, with media reports of the corona warriors, including even the police, being attacked in such localities.
The home secretary said instances of overcrowding in bazaars (markets) with poor sanitation, free movement of people in large numbers without masks, bathing of people in rivers, people playing cricket and football, serious laxity in enforcing lockdown measures in containment zones, plying of rickshaws without any restriction are grave violations of lockdown instructions and social distancing norms.
These are all examples of poor implementation of crowd-control measures by district authorities, he said.
Bhalla wrote the letter following reports submitted by two Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs), which were deputed to Kolkata and Jalpaiguri districts since April 20 and returned on Monday.
The IMCTs have extensively toured a total of seven districts in the state and have communicated their observations from time to time to the state government, Bhalla said.
The two-page letter said that stricter enforcement of lockdown was necessary and that problems have arisen due to ostracism of healthcare professionals and lack of quarantine facilities in the state.