Piyush Goyal blames Maharashtra for non-running of 55 trains

Trinamool says Railway Minister should not play politics

The political slugfest over running of Shramik Special trains continued with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal taking to Twitter to allege that the Maharashtra government failed to provide passenger details due to which at least 55 such trains could not be run on Tuesday.

Mr. Goyal tweeted that as per the request from the Maharashtra government, the Railways had scheduled 145 Shramik Special trains for Tuesday, of which 85 were scheduled to operate till 6 p.m., however, only 27 trains could run due to lack of passengers.

Meanwhile, with 41 of these 145 trains scheduled to terminate at West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress accused the Railway Ministry of bulldozing the State government’s rights even as the State has expressed inability to receive the trains due to Amphan cyclone.

“We gave them as many trains as the Maharashtra government asked for, but the trains returned from there without passengers because they could not bring passengers. Last evening, the Maharashtra government asked for 145 trains from the railways, after reviewing the entire night, we planned 145 trains to Maharashtra,” Mr. Goyal tweeted.

Also read: Shiv Sena, Congress take jibe at Piyush Goyal over diversion of U.P.-bound train

Amid migrant workers across the country struggling to go back to their homes, the Centre and non-BJP State governments have been engaged in constant to and fro over the running of Sharamik Special trains. Mr. Goyal had earlier alleged non-cooperation from the governments of West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand for running of such trains.

According to the Railways, of the 145 trains, 68 trains were planned to depart for Uttar Pradesh, 27 to Bihar, 41 to West Bengal, one each to Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Kerala and two each to Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

Also read: Congress indulging in theatrics over migrant workers, says Nirmala Sitharaman

The 41 trains were scheduled for West Bengal despite the State government conveying its inability to receive any trains since the State is still coming to terms with the destruction caused by Amphan cyclone.

Maharashtra and West Bengal spoke to each other and the trains have been halted for now.

Also read: Railways to run 2,600 Shramik Specials over next

Taking a dig at Mr. Goyal, TMC national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’ Brien said, “PM Narendra Modi and his Ministers are more busy tweeting rather than speaking to the State governments and co-ordinating during this crisis.”

He said the State followed a certain protocol with the Shramik Special trains — screening them at the platform, government-monitored home quarantine for asymptomatic patients and institutional quarantine for others, all of which was not possible at present for the State government.

Mr. O’Brien said both the West Bengal government and the Maharashtra government were in touch with each other and the Railway Minister should not play politics. “The initial problem was created by the four-hour notice given for a 21-day lockdown, which now has been extended four times. The Ministry of Railways is now trying to overrule the States in an attempt to do damage control,” he added.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 1:03:33 AM |

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