New Delhi: Looking at the gross violation of lockdown norms in the state, the Union Home Ministry on Wednesday issued a strong notice to West Bengal government, saying stricter enforcement of lockdown was necessary for the state. Also Read - 'Economically Anti-national': Congress Slams Centre For Increasing Fuel Price During Lockdown

Issuing the letter, the Centre said that the COVID-19 response in West Bengal is characterised by a very low rate of testing and high mortality, coupled with instances of lockdown violations. Also Read - Centre Asks West Bengal to Allow Cargo Movement Through Indo-Bangla Border Without Further Delay

Writing a two-page letter to West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said stricter enforcement of lockdown was necessary in the state keeping in view the rising cases of coronavirus.

The centre said the problems have started due to ostracism of healthcare professionals and lack of quarantine facilities in the state.

“The response to COVID-19 in the state of West Bengal is characterised by a very low rate of testing in proportion to the population, and a very high late of mortality of 13.2 per cent for the state, by far the highest for any state,” the MHA said in the letter.

The MHA said this was a reflection of poor surveillance, detection and testing in the state and there is a need to increase random testing in crowded clusters.

The Union Home Secretary said lockdown violations have been noted in the cities of Kolkata and Howrah by specific groups in specific localities, with media reports of the ‘corona warriors’ including even the police being attacked in such localities.

In the letter, the Union Home Secretary also mentioned that the 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 have been noticed and these are grave violation of lockdown norms.