Bengal hurdle in efforts to send back migrants: Shah
The Centre and the West Bengal Government are engaged in a fresh face-off after Home Minister Amit Shah accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of red-flagging the special Shramik trains carrying migrant workers from entering her State.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, Amit Shah said the Trinamool Government wasn’t allowing trains to reach Bengal and warned this would make life even harder for them.
Hours after Shah’s letter, the Trinamool Congress exploded calling Shah a “peddler of lies.”
“He is peddling bundles of lies,” said TMC MP and Chief Minister’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee asking the Home Minister to prove his allegations or seek apology.
Saying that Bengal’s apathy towards its migrant workers will only aggravate their condition, Shah in his letter wrote that the Central Government was “facilitating (the return of the migrant labourers) but we are not getting expected support from the State Government. This is injustice with the migrant labourers. This will create further hardship for them, as the workers are eager to return to their homes.”
Within hours the junior Banerjee hit back wondering who was responsible for the current state of affairs and for whose lack of foresight the dreaded disease could enter India. Later he tweeted, “A HM failing to discharge his duties during this crisis speaks after weeks of silence, only to mislead people with bundle of lies!” adding “Ironically he’s talking about the very people who have been literally left to fate by his own Govt.”
He said Shah should prove his charges or apologise. Prove your fake allegations or apologise (sic),” he wrote.
The TMC leadership also wondered how a letter written to the Chief Minister found its way to the media before reaching its actual destination.
Later, the State Government clarified its stance saying it had already cleared the entry of 8 trains to Bengal. The respective Shramik specials were bringing people from Karnataka, Hyderabad Punjab, Rajasthan and other places were bringing 31,000 people back to Bengal. Most of those coming back are from Malda, East and West Burdwan, Howrah, Kolkata, West Mindapore, Bankura and Hooghly, sources said.
Clarifying the State’s stand further Sougato Roy said the delay in bringing the workers back was caused because the delay on the part of the Central Government to allot us trains. Now they have allotted the trains and we are getting the workers back.”
A statement from Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Chowudhury, however, tended to buttress Shah’s claim when he said that he had himself appealed to the Home Minister to provide special trains for Bengal when “he told me that the State Government is not allowing the trains to enter Bengal.”
Meanwhile, Bengal witnessed 11 more corona deaths in the past 24 hours taking the total number of deaths to 99, State Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said adding however that 72 more deaths had been caused earlier on account of co-morbidity conditions.
Apart from this, the past 24 hours saw 108 new infections taking the total number of cases to 1,786. The number of active corona cases in the State was 1,243. This included the new cases noticed in the hitherto “green zone” district of North Dinajpur in North Bengal.
Sunday, 10 May 2020 | Saugar Sengupta | Kolkata
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