Amid the multiple accidents of stranded migrant labourers attempting to return back home in trucks, the Bengal government, on Saturday, announced that it will bear the entire cost of the migrants traveling via trains from various states to Bengal. The Mamata government has written to the Railway Board that trains may be run as per requisition made by the West Bengal government. According to Railway data as of date, only 9 trains have been allowed by the Bengal government to transport migrants.
On Thursday, Goyal stated that the state government has allowed only 7 special trains till date. He added that while Bengal needs to run 105 trains daily, the state government is planning to run 105 trains in the next 30 days. Comparing West Bengal to Uttar Pradesh, he said that 400 trains had been approved by Uttar Pradesh government within 15 days to facilitate the travel of its migrants, while Bengal has approved the passage of only 8 trains. Incidentally, the first train from Maharashtra to Howrah departed from Bandra station.
On the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that 105 special trains had been arranged. She stated that this would prove beneficial for West Bengal residents struck in other states who wished to come back. Commencing from May 16, special trains will depart for West Bengal from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore Urban, Hyderabad, Haridwar, Chennai, Gautam Budh Nagar, Ahmedabad, Pali, Nagpur, Kozhikode, Thane, Surat, etc.
Goyal has claimed that PM Modi had specifically asked him to facilitate trains to ferry migrant workers to their native places. However, he mentioned that the West Bengal government was not cooperating and was refusing to give approvals for the trains to run - targetting other states like Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh too. Bengal has locked horns with the Centre several times during the Coronavirus pandemic for testing, lack of funds, discrepancy over COVID deaths, adequate PPEs, Central Health team etc.