- "These officers failed to ensure public health, safety," government said
- A nationwide lockdown was announced last week over COVID-19
- Action came after thousands of migrants gathered at a Delhi bus station
The centre has suspended two senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers and sent show-cause notices to two others on charge of "dereliction" of their duty in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak in the national capital. "These officers have failed to ensure public health and safety during the lockdown restrictions to combat COVID-19," the government said.
Additional chief secretary, transport department and principal secretary, finance department, have been suspended; while additional chief secretary, home and land buildings department, and sub-divisional magistrate, Seelampur, have been asked to respond to the show-cause notices.
"It has been brought to the notice of the competent authority that the officers, who were responsible to ensure strict compliance to the instructions issued by Chairperson, National Executive Committee, formed under Disaster Management Act 2005 regarding containment of spread of COVID-19, have prima facie failed to do so," the statement said.
"Due to the serious lapse in performance of their duties, the competent authority has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the officers," a government spokesperson was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The action came a day after thousands of migrant workers - who had lost their jobs and had no resources to sustain themselves during the ongoing 21-day coronavirus lockdown - gathered at a Delhi bus station to go their native towns and village.
The centre on Sunday ordered the states and Union territories to provide food and shelter to those who are stranded because of the lockdown. It also directed them to strictly enforce the lockdown and seal their borders. Those who have already left for their hometowns will be put in mandatory 14-day quarantine, it said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday appealed to migrant labourers to stay wherever they are instead of making it back to their states, pointing to the risk of infection spreading to villages, where it has not reached yet.
Promising all possible help, including paying their rents if they are unable to do so, he said the people should think of themselves and their loved ones in this crisis and help contain the infection.