The ‘unilateral’ decision of the West Bengal government to stop trucks laden with essential supplies, bound for Bangladesh, ‘would have larger implications for the Indian government with regard to its legally binding international commitments, the Union Home Ministry has warned the state government.
In a letter to West Bengal’s Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha on Wednesday, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that the state government’s action to stop cross-border traffic involving essential items was also in violation of the lockdown rules.
“… the unilateral action on the part of Government of West Bengal to stop the cross-land border movement of essential goods would have larger implications for the Indian government with regard to its legally binding international commitments. This act of the State government amounts to violation of the orders issued by MHA under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, as well as Article 253, 256 and 257 of the Constitution of India,” Bhalla wrote in his letter.
On April 24, directions were given to allow cross land border transportation of essential goods through Indo-Nepal, Indo-Bhutan and Indo-Bangladesh borders, the letter noted.
Bhalla noted with concern in his communication that goods traffic through border crossings was yet to be resumed. “As a result, a large number of trucks carrying essential supplies, bound for Bangladesh, are stranded at different border crossing points. A number of drivers of such vehicles, while returning from Bangladesh, have also not been allowed to cross the border, and are stranded in Bangladesh,” his letter said.
The letter questioned as to why a compliance report was yet to be sent to the Centre, as far as resuming the cross-border traffic was concerned.