Kolkata: Nine Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel, who had recently gone to Delhi on an urgent official work have tested positive for COVID-19 on their return to West Bengal, an official from the South Eastern Railway (SER) said on Friday. Also Read - Nepal Airport Under Renovation Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
The ruling Trinamool Congress expressed concern over the development and sought to know why were the RPF constables travelling during the lockdown. Also Read - Bangladesh Govt Decides Not to Extend COVID-19 Shutdown
The nine constables were part of a 28-member RPF contingent from the Kharagpur division of South Eastern Railway who had returned from the national capital on April 14 with a consignment of arms and ammunition aboard a parcel express train, the SER official said. Also Read - COVID-19 Cases Cross 1.6 Lakh-mark; Death Toll Above 4,600; Shah Speaks to CMs Over Lockdown Extension | Key Points
All the infected personnel have been hospitalised, an SER spokesperson said here.
West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said he has written to the Union home secretary about the 28 RPF personnel who came to West Bengal on April 14 and 15.
“One of them went to Odisha from Bengal and tested positive. This alarmed us and we tested 20 of them, out of whom eight tested positive,” he said, adding the state government has not been able to trace the rest of the contingent.
“I wrote to the (Union) Home Secretary that West Bengal has been saying all along that when there is a lockdown there should be no inter-state movement,” the chief secretary said during a daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the state secretariat here.
“I raised the issue that the RPF should not have sent these people to us (West Bengal) when there is a lockdown,” Sinha said.
The West Bengal chief secretary said he has spoken to the director general (DG) of the RPF and sought details of the remaining members of the contingent, “because if they are roaming in the state and spreading the virus, that is the last thing we want to happen”.
Sinha said because of the lockdown, also because of the logistics, students from the state stranded at coaching hub of Kota in Rajasthan could not be brought back.
Expressing concern at the outbreak of virus among the RPF personnel, the Trinamool Congress asked why they were travelling during the shutdown.
“They all came to Kolkata from Delhi on April 14 by train. Why were (COVID-19) positive patients travelling during lockdown?” leader of TMC Parliamentary Party in Rajya Sabha and party spokesperson Derek O’Brien wrote on social media.
He also asked whether there was any screening of the constables and how many people have they met.