Want to run 'Corona Express'? Mamata asks Railways

Do you want to run 'Corona Express' in the name of Shramik Express, says Mamata to Indian Railways

“If thousands of people can travel together in trains then religious places can also open,” said Banerjee

The Chief Minister said that since the state government is paying the fare of 235 such trains then should three to four workers be made to travel in one seat. (Credit: PTI Photo)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday lashed out at Indian Railways for sending migrant workers in packed trains asking whether they want to run Corona Express in the name of Shramik Express.

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“Do you want to run Corona Express in the name of Shramik Express. Are you running Corona Express. You have so many trains. Run them in rotation. What is the problem? You are bringing people like haystacks. Even those who are not infected will get infected in this way,” said Banerjee.

Addressing mediapersons at the State Secretariat, Banerjee said that if thousands of people can travel together in trains then why should places of religious worship be kept closed. She announced that from June 1 all places of religious worship will be allowed to open in the state. But not more than 10 people will be allowed to enter and no large religious festivals and gatherings will be allowed. Concerned managing committees will have to make arrangements for sanitization, said Banerjee.

She also said that since majority of the migrant workers are coming from “hotspot areas” such as Maharastra, Chennai, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi they should provided with extra care.

The Chief Minister said that since the state government is paying the fare of 235 such trains then should three to four workers be made to travel in one seat.

“If for about 48 hours so many people are kept in confined space then you can all see how COVID-19 is spreading,” said Banerjee.

Alleging that the Centre was not only sending several such trains to one place within a day Banerjee said that the migrant workers are dying since they are not being provided with food and water during the journey.

She also jute and tea industry will operate with 100% staff strength from June 1 adding public and private sector will operate with 100% staff strength from June 8.

Banerjee announced that the stater government has released funds of Rs.6250 crore for assistance to those affected by the cyclone Amphan. She also said that the death toll due to Amphan has climbed to 98.

However, late on Friday night she tweeted "In the Private sector, I urge all to stay safe, work indoors as much as possible & to the best of their abilities. Prerogative lies with the respective managements of private entities to decide on workforce capacity & act accordingly."

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