New Delhi: Even as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) has vehemently rejected the Centre’s charge of blocking trains returning to the state with its migrant workers, the Ministry of Railways on Saturday said that till this morning, it had received approval for only two trains from the state, adding that approval for eight more was received after intervention by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Also Read - Amid War of Words With Centre, West Bengal Gives 'Green Signal' to Ten Trains to Enter State
“Indian Railways has so far run over 300 trains mainly for states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh etc.” the statement said, adding that for West Bengal, however, till today morning, it had received approval for only two ‘shramik special trains’-one each from Ajmer Sharif and Ernakulam. Also Read - Coronavirus in West Bengal: Mamata Govt Only Bringing Back Stranded Migrants From a Specific Community, Alleges Bengal BJP
“After request of the Home Minister, today afternoon, West Bengal approved two trains from Punjab, two from Tamil Nadu, three from Karnataka and one from Telangana, which are being arranged,” the statement added.
The statement further said that the West Bengal government is yet to approve a train for Maharashtra, despite six out of a total requirement of 16 trains to the western state still pending.
Notably, earlier today, in a letter to CM Mamata Banerjee, the Home Minister had remarked that she was committing ‘injustice’ towards migrant workers returning to the state by not allowing trains carrying them to enter West Bengal, a charge that the TMC had vehemently denied.
Later in the day, the state government announced that it had given ‘green signal’ to ten trains, carrying its migrant workers, to enter the state, adding that one of the trains will reach Malda from Telangana on Sunday.
The Centre and the West Bengal government, notably, have been at loggerheads over various issues with regards to the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.