New Delhi: Amid the ongoing bickering between the Maharashtra government and the Centre, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the alleged “whimsical” functioning of the Railways in sending Shramik Special trains to West Bengal. She urged the Centre not to pursue politics when the state was battling a dual crisis of COVID-19 pandemic and trail of destruction left behind by Cyclone Amphan. Also Read - West Bengal Lockdown: Vegetable Prices Double With No Buyers, High Transport Cost Amid COVID-19
The Railways, however, said no trains were being “planned” by the national transporter and it was only operationalising the trains that had been asked for by the states. “The railways was given a demand with details such as the number of passengers, originating and destination points. All the related coordination is being done by the state governments,” it said. Also Read - West Bengal Assembly to Remain Shut For 10 Days After Employee Tests COVID Positive
“The railways is a medium providing service by arranging rakes based on the request from these states,” it said. Also Read - Infectious Diseases Expert Anthony Fauci Calls Out 'Bizarre' Attacks of White House to Discredit Him
Around 41 trains were to leave for West Bengal on May 26, but only 10 had departed. So far, 35 trains have terminated in Bengal, 22 are in transit and three more are in the pipeline, according to the Railways data.
“The Railways is sending Shramik Special trains to the state every day according to its whims and fancies without even bothering to inform us, “Mamata Banerjee said. “Where will we keep these migrant labourers for institutional quarantine?” she asked. “This is not the time for politics. We are facing a very tough situation and we need time and space to tackle it.”
“They can disturb me politically, but why are they causing harm to the state?” Banerjee said as she hit out at the BJP. “West Bengal is facing such a major disaster. It will lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Who will take the responsibility then?”