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Bengal govt to sanitise secretariat

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By NS Desk 12-Apr-2020

Kolkata, April 12 (IANS) The West Bengal government has decided to shut and sanitise its secretariat Nabanna on Sunday and Monday in the backdrop of the raging Novel Coronavirus infection, according to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The secretariat is located on the bank of river Hooghly in Howrah district where a number of corona positive cases have been reported.

"We will sanitise Nabanna. It has not been sanitised for some time. So, it will remain closed on Sunday and Monday," Banerjee told mediapersons here on Saturday.

However, officials said the Nabanna building had been sanitised last month after the son of a state home ministry official tested positive for coronavirus infection -- the first case in the state.

Nabanna has been functioning as the main nodal centre of the state in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. However, bulk of the departments have remained closed, with the government asking employees to work from home.

But the chief minister and some top officials as also members of an expert group playing a key role in combating the Covid-19 menace have been going to the secretariat regularly.

Banerjee said all the civic wards in Kolkata will also be sanitised jointly by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, fire brigade and Kolkata police.

Drone cameras will be used for aerial surveillance, while rapid antibody testing is set to begin in the next four-five days in the state. The state has asked for 50,000 such kits from the Centre.

The state government has also come up with a mobile App "Annadatri" to facilitate paddy growers, who can avail of it to sell their produce through the government.

"If any paddy grower evinces interest to sell his produce through the App, the government will procure it and then sell it off. There is no need for the grower to come to the market and sell it to rice mills," she said.

The state government would step up vigil to prevent gathering of any kind while congested markets in the city and the districts are set to be scattered to ensure social distancing.

Banerjee, who extended the ongoing lockdown in the state to April 30, also announced a series of relaxations.

The groceries will henceforth remain open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., she said.

The chief minister also announced that instructions have been given to open the rice and oil mills, but the protocol of hygiene and social distancing should be maintained.

The MSME sector has also been permitted to restart operations, but the number of staff deployed should be minimal and the general lockdown rules should not be violated. "If there is violation, I will take action," she said.

--IANS

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