New Delhi, April 24 : The Central government has set up five more inter-ministerial central teams (IMCTs), led by the Additional Secretary level officers, to monitor implementation of lockdown, supply of essential goods and other related issues.
These teams will be sent to Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat, Thane in Maharashtra, Hyderabad in Telangana, and Chennai in Tamil Nadu where the situation is considered "especially serious", said a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The IMCTs will make an on-the-spot assessment of the situation and issue necessary directions to the state authorities and submit their reports to the Central government.
On April 20, the government had constituted six IMCTs, constituted in exercise of powers conferred under the Disaster Management Act 2005.
Among those two teams each has been set up for West Bengal and Maharashtra, one each for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Each six-member team comprises a senior public health specialist and a National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA) official.
The IMCTs have also been tasked to assess compliance and implementation of lockdown as per the guidelines and focus on issues, such as the supply of essential commodities, social distancing, preparedness of health infrastructure, hospital facilities and sample statistics in the districts, safety of health professionals, availability of test kits, PPEs, masks and other safety equipment and conditions of the relief camps for labourers and the poor.
The first six IMCTs were set up following reports of lockdown violations causing serious situations in Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Mumbai and Pune (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Kolkata, Howrah, Medinipur East, 24 Parganas North, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri (West Bengal).
Coronavirus has claimed 718 lives and infected more than 17,500 across the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 extended the 21-day lockdown for another 19 days till May 3.