Bengal Governor trains his guns on State IAS and IPS officers even as COVID cases soar

Published : July 12, 2020 12:17 IST

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on the occasion of the birth anniversary Syama Prasad Mookerjee, in Kolkata on July 6. Photo: PTI

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, one of the most vocal critics of the Trinamool Congress government, has now trained his guns on the State bureaucracy and the police. In a social media message addressed to the IAS and the IPS officers of Bengal, Dhankhar expressed concern over what he termed “rampant disregard and violations” of the All India Service (Conduct) Rules taking place in the State.

Referring to the rules, Dhankhar pointed out that political neutrality, accountability and transparency, and commitment to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution and democratic values must be observed by IAS and IPS officers.  The message stated that officers should refrain from doing anything which is or may be contrary to any law, rules, regulations and established practices; maintain discipline in the discharge of their duties; be ready to implement the lawful orders duly communicated to them; and perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of professionalism and dedication to the best of their abilities.

“As Governor worried at rampant disregard and violations @MamataOfficial. Let there be no doubt, every such infraction will attract due accountability,” said Dhankhar. According to government sources, the latest outburst has come as a culmination of events and developments, including alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 situation, lack of adequate testing and irregularities in distribution of relief to those affected by the supercyclone Amphan. “The message of political neutrality to the administration and the police is also with an eye on the 2021 Assembly elections in the State,” a highly placed government source told Frontline. The Governor and the State government have been at loggerheads right from the time Dhankhar assumed office on July 30, 2019.

Huge spike in the number of COVID-19 cases

Meanwhile, the spread of COVID-19 continued alarmingly in the State. On July 11, with 1,344 new cases, the State recorded the highest number of COVID-positive cases in 24 hours. Of the total 28,453 cases, 10,295 are active. The number of deaths in the State as of July 11 stood at 932, with 26 people dying within the last 24 hours. The rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the State has been particularly steep since July, increasing by almost 10,000 in the first 11 days of the month. On June 30, the total number of cases was 18,559, while the number of casualties was 683.

However, when doctors are stressing the importance of increasing the number of tests, the rate of testing in Bengal has been stagnant in the last three weeks, hovering on an average between 10,500 and 11,500 samples per day. As of July 11, the State had tested only 6,05,370 samples (including 11,403 on July 11), with the rate of testing standing at a mere 6,726 per million.