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Focus on containing Covid in Calcutta and 4 districts

Bengal govt engages five senior IAS officers to monitor the state’s counter-measures against the virus
Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

Pranesh Sarkar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 29.07.20, 03:21 AM

The Mamata Banerjee government has engaged five senior IAS officers to monitor the government’s initiatives to contain the spread of Covid-19 in five districts where the number of infections is rising fast.

“We have appointed five senior IAS officers for five districts to oversee activities related to the containment of Covid-19. Besides, eight teams have been formed under the supervision of senior officers to monitor the augmentation of infrastructure and Covid-related services,” said chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna on Tuesday after holding a meeting with senior government officials.

Home secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay has been tasked with looking after the government’s initiatives to arrest the spread of Covid-19 in Calcutta; micro, small and medium enterprises secretary Rajesh Pandey with Howrah; public health engineering, land and land reforms secretary Manoj Pant with North 24-Parganas; public works department secretary Naveen Prakash with South 24-Parganas; and education secretary Manish Jain with Hooghly.

Sources in the state administration said the Bengal government identified these five districts as they report more than 70 per cent of the daily lab-confirmed cases.

“Engaging very senior officers to monitor containment activities has an edge as they can take key decisions on the spot. District magistrates often have to send proposals and then wait for instructions from the government top brass,” said a source. “Sometimes, district magistrates may hesitate to present the actual situation (to seniors), causing delays in taking action.” 

Another official said experienced IAS officers can guide the district administration during emergencies and bridge the communication gap between district authorities and the top brass. 

This apart, eight teams are monitoring eight areas vital to curb the spread of Covid-19. These areas include infrastructure upgrade, lab tests, safe homes, disposal of bodies of Covid patients and data management.

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