Union home minister Amit Shah has written to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for not receiving the “expected support” from her government in helping migrant workers reach home.
As per MHA officials, Shah in his letter wrote that the state government was doing “injustice” to Bengali migrant workers stranded across the country by not allowing “Shramik” (worker) trains run by the railways to reach the state.
The home minister pointed out that the central government had already aided 200,000 migrant workers in reaching their homes, adding that migrants from West Bengal employed elsewhere too were eager to go back home.
“West Bengal government is not allowing trains with migrants reaching the state. This is injustice with WB migrant labourers. This will create further hardship for them,” Shah wrote.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, who have the largest migrant populations have received the maximum number of workers returning home on Shramik trains. According to senior officials, West Bengal has so far received only two special trains. As of Friday, more than 250,000 migrants had been sent home on 251 Shramik trains.
On Thursday, West Bengal once again came under fire when Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla lashed out at the state government for a very low rate of testing and high rate of mortality – 13.2 per cent, - by far the highest for any state.
As per Saturday's tally, West Bengal has till now reported 1,678 cases of COVID-19 with a death toll of 160.