Kolkata, May 6 (PTI) The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal on Wednesday denied charges levelled by Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla that the state government is not allowing movement of essential goods through the Indo- Bangladesh border, and claimed the senior official is 'trying to please his political bosses in Delhi'.
Accusing the Union government of sending less number of testing kits and 'faulty' equipment to the state, the party leaders said that was why the number of tests conducted is low.
Senior TMC leader and MP Sougata Roy said, 'The central government is playing a political game and is using the services of bureaucrats who are obligated to the political leadership of the central government.' 'Otherwise they would have known that state has not objected to the opening of the borders for cargo movement. It had to be stopped because of tremendous local agitation. As we dont believe in using police force, talks have started with the locals so that services can be resumed,' he told PTI.
Officials of the Petrapole land port authorities on Tuesday said they are trying to hold talks with local people and the state government in order to resume Indo-Bangladesh trade, which was stopped on May 2 after two days of operation following protests by local people.
They had said villagers are afraid that truck drivers and labourers might spread coronavirus infection when they return from Benapole, located on the other side of the border and has been affected by the disease.
In a letter to West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha earlier in the day, the Union home secretary slammed the state government for not allowing movement of essential goods through the Indo-Bangladesh border, saying such acts violate the Constitution and will have international implications.
The Union home ministry also criticized the West Bengal government over its COVID-19 management in another letter.
Referring to the second letter by Bhalla, Roy said the union home secretarys letter has a 'subliminal political tilt, which is devoid of facts and figures'.
'As far as COVID-19 management is concerned, West Bengal is doing its best. It ranks 10th in terms of infected people. But the Centre is not sending letters to states such as Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, where the number of such people is much higher,' the senior TMC leader said.
'If at all there is short of tests, the fault lies entirely with the Centre, which has not only sent less number of kits but those faulty Chinese kits are faulty also. The state government is also doing its best to enforce stricter lockdown,' Roy said.
The West Bengal government alleged last month that the COVID-19 testing kits supplied by the NICED, the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR) nodal agency in the state, were 'apparently defective'.
The NICED had then withdrawn the consignment of defective COVID-19 testing kits from some of the state-run laboratories in West Bengal.
Another senior TMC leader and MP Manas Bhunia claimed that Centre is trying to wash its hands off by constantly blaming the state government.
'It was the Centre which had sent less number of kits, and the majority of them are faulty. If you don't give us kits, how will we conduct tests?' he said. PTI PNT NN NN