In view of cyclone AMPHAN that caused massive damage to infrastructure in West Bengal, the state government has restricted the entry of ‘Shramik Special’ trains till May 26.
Chief Minister Mamat Banerjee on Saturday requested the Ministry of Railways to not send any ‘Shramik Special’ trains to the state till May 26 as officials are busy in relief work in the wake of the cyclonic storm.
“As the district administrations are involved in relief and rehabilitation works, it will not be possible to receive special trains for the next few days. It is therefore requested that no train should be sent to West Bengal till May 26,” the Bengal CM was quoted as saying by the PTI.
West Bengal chief secretary Rajiva Sinha also wrote a letter to the Railway board authority saying, “It will not be possible to receive trains for the next few days. It is therefore requested that no train should be sent to West Bengal till 26 May, 2020.”
The letter also stated that the state has been severely impacted by Super Cyclone AMPHAN, which caused extensive damage to the infrastructure.
As many as 85 people have died due to the cyclone that wreaked havoc in many districts of south Bengal.
Meanwhile, the request to halt ‘Shramik Special’ trains comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted an aerial survey of areas affected by the super cyclone in West Bengal. He was also accompanied by chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Following the aerial survey, PM Modi also announced Rs 1000 crore for immediate assistance of West Bengal, while assuring the people of the state that the “entire country stands with them in these difficult times.”
Meanwhile, West Bengal has been criticised for their non-cooperation in bringing back migrants.
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said, “Some states did not cooperate with us to run special trains for sending back migrant workers to their homes. I think there are around 40 lakh people who want to return to West Bengal but only 27 special trains have entered the state so far”.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, had expressed his dismay over the state government stonewalling efforts by the Centre to facilitate transportation of migrant labourers back to the state.
Shah said that the West Bengal government is not allowing trains with migrants to reach the state, further creating hardship for the labourers and termed the act as “injustice” towards Bengali workers.
The Railways started running the ‘Shramik Special’ trains for transporting stranded workers on May 1, almost 40 days after the passenger, mail and express trains were suspended. These trains are being operated on the request of state governments.