Bhubaneswar: With West Bengal returnees turning north Odisha into new Covid-19 hotspot, Union Minister Pratap Sarangi on Thursday requested Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to deploy special forces along Odisha-West Bengal border to prevent unauthorised cross border movement into Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts in view of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a letter to Patnaik, Union MoS for MSME and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Sarangi said, “The Covid management system in West Bengal is reported to be lax. Recent media reports have revealed that due to lack of transparency and credibility in the testing, treatment and mortality of Covid patients, the situation in West Bengal is worsening fast.”
“Against this backdrop, Odisha being the neighbouring State, in general, and Balasore and Mayurbhanj being the border districts, in particular, need to be worried about the emerging situation concerning the Covid-19 in West Bengal and build strong defences to foil ant attempt of unauthorised movement/intrusion from across the West Bengal border,” said Sarangi, who hails from Balasore.
He urged the Chief Minister to instruct the Balasore and Mayurbhanj district administrations to maintain strict vigil on Odisha-West Bengal border by deploying special force and prevent any unauthorised cross border movement.
Sources said more than 2700 persons have returned to different parts of Odisha from WB in the last two months and at least a half of them sneaked in between March 28 and 29.
The returnees from WB have become a headache for the State Government as at least 24 among the fresh cases detected in Bhadrak, Balasore and Jajpur are linked to Bengal.