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Coronavirus lockdown | Mamata Banerjee apprehensive of return of migrants to West Bengal

West Bengal. File

West Bengal. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The state considers the ferrying of a large number of migrant workers by the railways as a big problem for public health, says Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that she is worried about the return of migrant workers to the State as many of them have tested positive for COVID-19.

“There is no need to panic or to worry. But I am worried. Many of those who are coming now are COVID positive,” Ms. Banerjee said. She also blamed the Railways for planning without consulting the State.

“We came up with a plan by which everyone would have come back in a few days in a phased manner. But, we got to know many trains were coming from Maharashtra. I spoke to the Maharashtra government [and] they said they were informed at 2 a.m. the previous night. If the Railway Ministry had consulted us then it would have been better. We are hearing reports of 2-3 people sharing one seat in trains and not following social distancing,” she said.

According to her, around 25% of those returning have tested positive. Already, about five lakh people have entered the State, many of whom have tested positive.

Also read: Cyclone Amphan kills 72 in West Bengal, brings life to a halt

“As many as 36 trains will enter the State … Railways has no responsibility,” she said. Since everyone cannot be quarantined institutionally, Ms. Banerjee asked the District Magistrates to create a block-wise task force for every district. While people returning from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra will be institutionally quarantined in local schools, people without symptoms coming from other States can be on mandatory two-week-long self-quarantine at home.

 

Death of CESC staffer

The Chief Minister also said that Kolkata’s power distribution company, Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC), has committed a “criminal offence” in connection with the death of a fire department employee who got electrocuted in Howrah district. Ms. Banerjee addressed a press conference in Kolkata on Wednesday.

“The person’s family will be given a compensation of ₹10 lakh and a member of the family will be given a job. But [it was due to] wrong information by the CESC. They have committed a criminal offence. The death will be probed,” she said.

“CESC has been working for 30-40 years. They were given the job during CPI-M’s time, by Congress government [at the Centre],” she said.

There CESC’s failure to restore power in the State capital, many hours after the cyclone Amphan receded, has sparked a debate in thr capital. Many have argued that the RP-Sanjeev Goenka group company should not be given “monopolistic right” to distribute power.

Ms. Banerjee said it has “to be discussed as it cannot be done overnight.”

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 5:06:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-lockdown-mamata-seeks-pms-intervention-in-railways-sending-shramik-special-trains-to-bengal/article31688231.ece

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