Gujarat Exclusive > Politics > Mamata says railways spreading corona in Bengal, seeks PM’s intervention

Mamata says railways spreading corona in Bengal, seeks PM’s intervention

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Taking a cue from Kerala that has lashed out at the Railway Ministry for sending Shramik Special trains without informing the state government, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday accused the railways of sending the special trains for migrants without any prior notice and disrupting the state’s measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Accusing the railways of “evacuating Maharashtra and spreading corona to Bengal” and playing politics with both states, she sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the matter.

Altogether 225 trains are expected to arrive in Bengal from across India.  Forty-one of them will be from Maharashtra, the state with the maximum number of coronavirus patients. So far, only 19 trains have arrived, but already, areas in the north and central parts of Bengal—Malda, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur—where migrants are making their way, have started reporting a jump in cases.

The state government fears an explosion in coronavirus cases once all the trains arrive.

“I don’t know why the Railway Ministry has done this. How will I screen 2 lakh migrants? Will the Centre help?” Mamata Banerjee said. “Politics has overtaken everything. Am I to fight the cyclone and corona or politics? It is all too much,” the CM said.

“We had given a list and a schedule for migrant trains but were suddenly told yesterday that 36 trains are now leaving for Bengal. Maharashtra said even they had no idea about it. They have started politics,” she said.

Banerjee also accused the railways of not practicing social distancing in the trains, even though the states are paying the bill.

“Why is there no social distancing in trains? We are paying for the tickets, but why so many passengers in the coaches? You are evacuating Maharashtra and spreading corona to Bengal,” she said.

“They (the BJP) can disturb me politically. Why are they causing harm to the state?” Banerjee said, adding, “I request the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to look into the sending of Shramik trains, so there is no spike in COVID-19 cases in Bengal. The PM should intervene”.

Yesterday, Kerala flagged the same issue. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the railways’ method of sending trains without prior information could derail the state’s protocol to control the coronavirus. Finance minister Thomas Isaac alleged that the railways “want to be the super spreader” of the disease in Kerala.