Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the Centre and Delhi Police over manhandling the party leaders who were protesting demanding the release of MGNREGA funds
The war of words between the West Bengal government and the Centre does not seem to end any time soon as chief minister Mamata Banerjee once again hit out at the Railways over the transportation of migrants by Shramik Special trains.
Mamata has reportedly said that in the name of Shramik Express, Indian Railways is running “Corona Express” while alleging that social distancing is not being maintained in special trains transporting migrant workers and other people to their homes.
“Law is equal for all but why all trains are running in full capacity? Why is the railways not maintaining social distancing? Passengers are not being served water and food in the trains,” Banerjee said.
“Why are extra trains not being run? I was Railway Minister once. I had increased coaches, why can it not be done now? The Railways are bringing people from hotspot areas in huge numbers,” she said.
Earlier, the West Bengal chief minister had lashed out at the Railway minister for sending as many as 36 trains from Maharashtra expected to reach West Bengal in a span of 24 hours.
With the Centre having constantly criticised West Bengal for not cooperating in bringing back its migrants, Mamata Banerjee had on Wednesday revealed she had told Union Home Minister Amit Shah that if he thought the state government was failing to handle the crisis properly, why didn’t he try and deal with it himself.
Addressing a press briefing, Mamata said, “I told Amit Shah, you are sending constantly central teams to Bengal. Go right ahead. But if you think the West Bengal government can’t do the job, why don’t you handle the corona crisis yourself? I have no problem.”
“I thank him for what he said in response,” she added. “He said… ‘No, no, how can we dislodge an elected government’. He said that to me,” Mamata Banerjee was quoted as saying by NDTV.
“I would normally never disclose all this. But given the situation, I want to tell Amit Shah, take care. You have done the lockdown. But trains and planes are running. So what about the people?” she said.
“I want to tell PM and HM (Home Minister), please see corona doesn’t spread. We already have 1 lakh cases. Some quarters want it to spread for politics. Bihar is affected. Rajasthan, MP, it is spreading everywhere. What can I do? In this disastrous situation, I want PM to intervene,” the West Bengal CM further said.
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.
Mamata has claimed that the sudden deployment of migrant trains to Bengal was a political ploy to “disturb” her.
Earlier this month, Mamata, at a conference call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Ministers, had accused the Centre of playing politics over the coronavirus issue.
She further accused the centre of working according to a ‘script’ and also of discriminating among the states.
“When we are cooperating with you, why are you attacking us? Why is it always Bengal, Bengal, Bengal ? Why criticise?” she asked.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister on Friday said that a decision has been taken to increase the state government’s workforce capacity from 50 percent to 70 percent.
“The lockdown will continue with minimal effects. Jute mills and tea gardens will operate with 100 percent workforce capacity. We are together in this. I am sure with all your cooperation and understanding, Bengal will emerge victoriously,” she said a press conference.
She further announced that all religious places will open in the state from June 1, where not more than 10 people will be allowed at a time.