The Mamata Banerjee government continues to face the ire of the Centre over its irresponsible behaviour in tackling the Coronavirus Pandemic, as well as the migrant crisis that has followed the nationwide lockdown. While the migrant crisis has snowballed into a heated political issue in West Bengal, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal have now locked horns on twitter over the sensitive issue.
The West Bengal Chief Minister tweeted, “Towards our commitment to helping all our people stuck in different parts of the country and who want to return back to Bengal, I am pleased to announce that we have arranged 105 additional special trains.”
She added, “Over the coming days, these special trains will embark from different states for various destinations across Bengal bringing our people back home.”
Towards our commitment to helping all our people stuck in different parts of the country and who want to return back to Bengal, I am pleased to announce that we have arranged 105 additional special trains. (1/2)
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 14, 2020
But Railways Minister Piyush Goyal replied to her twitter thread, slamming her for not taking the ongoing migrant crisis seriously. Goyal tweeted, “I feel sad that while there is a need for 105 trains/day to bring back migrants to WB, the State is accepting only 105 trains over 30 days. I once again hope for the sake of Bengali brothers & sisters in different parts of the country, that WB will accept them back with open arms.”
In fact, the Union Minister also said, “Many migrants want to return to WB & if State doesn’t accept them then we may find more cases of migrants & even children walking for hundreds of kilometres & resorting to other dangerous means. WB should speed up setting up of adequate arrangements to receive their own migrants.”
I feel sad that while there is a need for 105 trains/day to bring back migrants to WB, the State is accepting only 105 trains over 30 days. I once again hope for the sake of Bengali brothers & sisters in different parts of the country, that WB will accept them back with open arms
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) May 14, 2020
Last week, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had written a letter to the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in which he claimed that while the Centre wants to help more than two lakh migrants reach home, the West Bengal government was not cooperating and not allowing trains ferrying migrants to reach the state.
He had added, “This is injustice with West Bengal migrant labourers. This will create further hardship for them.” He had also written, “Migrants from West Bengal are also eager to reach home. Central govt is facilitating but we are not getting expected support from West Bengal.”
In fact, ever since the COVID-19 outbreak hit the state of West Bengal, there has been a bitter war of words between the Mamata Banerjee government and the Union government.
The Mamata Banerjee government has been facing allegations of a cover-up owing to mysterious incidents like a dead body being carried away for burial by men wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a Committee of Experts to decide if a COVID-19 patient died due to the novel virus or “co-morbidities”, a guided tour to the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (ICMT) and allegations of an abysmally low number of tests.
The Coronavirus situation has been clearly mismanaged in the state of West Bengal, which has led to a spate of showdowns between the Centre and the TMC administration.
The West Bengal Chief Minister recently sparred with the Centre over the number of Coronavirus hotspots, and earlier the Union Home Ministry had written to the TMC government about lockdown violations in the state exposing serious mismanagement of the Coronavirus outbreak and poor enforcement of the lockdown norms.
The war of words seems to be further intensifying between the Centre and the West Bengal government over the utter disregard towards, and mismanagement of the migrant crisis by the Mamata Banerjee government.
First Union Home Minister Amit Shah exposed how Mamata Banerjee government was blocking attempts to rescue migrants, and now the Railways Minister Piyush Goyal too has hit out at the state government for allowing far fewer trains than required to help all migrants reach their native state.