Locking horns with the West Bengal government over special 'Shramik' trains, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, on Thursday, 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.
I feel sad that while there is a need for 105 trains/day to bring back migrants to WB, the State is accepting only 105 trains over 30 days. I once again hope for the sake of Bengali brothers & sisters in different parts of the country, that WB will accept them back with open arms— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) May 14, 2020
Earlier in the day, 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 - adding that only 7 trains have departed for West Bengal until 3 pm on May 13. 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.