Coronavirus lockdown | Shiv Sena, Congress take jibe at Piyush Goyal over diversion of U.P.-bound train

Union Minister Piyush Goyal. File

Union Minister Piyush Goyal. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Shiv Sena’s ally Congress also took a dim view of the train diversion, saying the government was “taking migrant workers on a country tour” without providing them food and water

Taking a dig at Railway Minister Piyush Goyal over diversion of the Vasai Road-Gorakhpur Sharmik Special train via Odisha, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on May 25 said their only request is that a train carrying migrant workers should reach its destination as announced.

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Shiv Sena’s ally Congress also took a dim view of the train diversion, saying the government was “taking migrant workers on a country tour” without providing them food and water.

Both the allies also criticised Mr. Goyal after he said on May 24 night that his Ministry was ready to run 125 Shramik Special trains from Maharashtra provided the State government furnishes a list of eligible migrants to the Mumbai- headquartered Central Railway in an hour.

However, the NCP, which is also an alliance partner in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government, said Mr. Goyal and his Ministry are under pressure and their efforts to run the trains should be appreciated.

Also read: Will migrant workers benefit from the Centre’s measures?

The Vasai Road-Gorakhpur Sharmik Special train to Uttar Pradesh, which left from Palghar on May 21, was diverted to a different route via Odisha due to heavy congestion. It reached Gorakhpur two-and-a-half days later, when it should have reached the destination in about 25 hours.

Amid the political slugfest over the Shramik Special trains, Mr. Goyal on May 24 night said, “We are ready to provide 125 Shramik Special trains to Maharashtra.”

“Since you have said that you have a list ready that is why I am requesting you to please provide all information like from where the train will run, the list of passengers according to the trains, their medical certificate and where the train is to go, to the General Manager of Central Railway within the next hour, so that we can plan the time of trains,” the Railway Minister tweeted.

Also read: Congress should work with Centre to send more migrants home, says Nirmala Sitharaman

Commenting on it, Mr. Raut on May 25 tweeted: “Maharashtra government has given you a list of workers who wish to return home. The only request is that the train should reach the station, as announced earlier.”

“The Gorakhpur-bound train had reached Odisha,” the Sena’s Rajya Sabha member further said.

He also asked Mr. Goyal if the Railway Ministry had made any such list while running the Nagpur-Udhampur migrant train on May 14.

Also read: Coronavirus package | Talk of space travel a cruel joke amid migrant workers’ crisis, says Congress

“Was there any proper list compiled for Nagpur-Udhampur train service on May 14. Can he make public what efforts were taken before running the train. Why is he now demanding the list,” Mr. Raut said in a tweet targeting Mr. Goyal.

Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant also hit out at Mr. Goyal for asking the State to provide a list of migrant workers in an hour, and over the diversion of the Gorakhpur-bound train via Odisha.

“You invite people telling it is going to Japan but you end up taking them to China, Without giving any food and water, the government is taking migrant workers on a country tour. The Modi government has become, by far, the worst, unsuccessful and irresponsible government,” Mr. Sawant said.

Asked if the Railway Minister was politicising the issue, senior NCP leader Praful Patel, however, said the Indian Railways and Mr. Goyal are also under pressure to run the trains.

“Their efforts should be respected. We appreciate that they are providing trains so that people can reach home,” Mr. Patel said.

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2020 8:31:49 PM |

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