According to a Times Now report, the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, will object to the voluntary resumption of train services during the meeting between PM Modi and chief ministers to review the coronavirus situation in the country later today.
Mamata Banerjee ‘concerned’
The Times Now report states that the TMC chief Mamata Banerjee will raise her concern with the Prime Minister about restarting of railway services even as the lockdown is underway. The sources quoted in the report claim that Mamata Banerjee has objections to the government’s decision, stating that the ongoing lockdown will make it difficult for people desiring to travel to other places to reach railway stations for boarding the trains.
Secondly, CM Banerjee has questioned why the central government has not consulted with the state government before restarting the train services as the loss of lives due to the coronavirus crisis is the State’s responsibility.
Third, West Bengal is among the worst-affected States the Coronavirus outbreak. As such, the State Government is concerned that the resumption of railway services can further aggravate the situation. There has been a spike in the number of people diagnosed with the Wuhan Coronavirus in West Bengal. This can be attributed to an increase in the number of tests conducted in the State. As such, people from other states travelling to West Bengal also stand a high chance of being infected.
Demands from the Centre
Mamata Banerjee is also likely to raise her concerns about how the safety of passengers will be ensured in the State. She will also discuss whether the Centre will provide additional testing kits to States to screen travellers before or after boarding the train. Besides, Banerjee is also likely to demand the early release of pending funds to the tune of ₹50,000 crores for the State of West Bengal. Earlier, she has complained about the lack of resources and limited aid provided by the Union Government.
Amit Shah writes to Mamata Banerjee
Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has written to Mamata Banerjee expressing disappointment over the West Bengal government’s reluctance to extend support to help migrant workers reach home. Shah has also demanded an answer on the Mamata government’s inaction over the migrants’ distress in Bengal. He pointed out that the Modi government has facilitated the more than 200,000 migrant labourers to reach home and that workers from West Bengal are also eager to go back.
On May 10, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis had appealed to WB CM Mamata Banerjee to permit the running of 7 trains carrying migrant workers from Maharashtra to West Bengal. He had stated that the railways have sought the Bengal CM’s permission and the permission has not come so far.
Telangana CM opposes too
As per the latest reports, while the meeting of the CMs with the PM is ongoing, the CM of Telangana has also opposed the resumption of train services from 12 May.