'Fadnavis' claims on Central aid to Maha hollow'

Fadnavis' claims on Central aid to Maha hollow: Minister

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis

The ongoing war of words between the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government and the BJP escalated on Wednesday with both the sides seeking to rebut each other's claims and counter-claims on the Central help to handle the coronavirus crisis.

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At 56,948 COVID-19 cases and 1,897 deaths, Maharashtra remains worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Shiv Sena leader and Transport Minister Anil Parab also hit back at Railway Minister Piyush Goyal over operating of trains for migrants, saying he had sent them in one go instead of the demand made by the state government to operate them in a staggered manner.

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases

He also dismissed as "false and misleading" senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis' claim that the Centre had given more than Rs 28,000 crore to the state government.

"The state government was supposed to get Rs 42,000 crores from the Union government, but has received no funds so far," he told a press conference which he addressed along with his cabinet colleagues Jayant Patil (NCP) and Balasaheb Thorat (Congress).

However, Fadnavis, a former CM, hit back immediately saying the Centre had not only given 10 lakh PPE kits and 16 lakh N-95 masks but also given Rs 468 crore to the Maharashtra government for purchasing them.

"The Railways started giving out information very late about the trains, which is causing a huge chaos among migrant workers but it is trying to put the blame on the Maharashtra government.

"When we had the letter from West Bengal secretary not to send trains because of the 'Amphan' cyclone, Goyal sent some 40 trains in just one day. It was our requirement till May 31, but he sent all the trains in just one day, without any prior intimation," Parab claimed.

Commenting on a huge crowd of migrant workers gathered in Mumbai on Tuesday, Parab said, "Migrant workers had received phone calls from Railways just one hour before the scheduled departure of a train hence everybody rushed towards suburban Matunga station.

"Once they reached there railway officials told them that the train would leave from CSMT. How can you blame the state government for it?" he wondered.

Parab further said that Fadnavis' claim of Rs 122 crore fund given for the welfare of migrant workers is also wrong. "The entire expenses for migrant workers are borne by the Maharashtra government," he added.

"Fadnavis said that Rs 116 crore was given for helping the physically challenged people. However, he conveniently did not inform that Rs 116 crore is the Centre's share in the scheme while the rest Rs 1,210 crore comes from the state. The government has utilised the funds, but Fadnavis chose not to talk about it," Parab alleged.

Responding to Parab's claim that the state government was still awaiting the receipt of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) dues from the Centre, Fadnavis said that funds under devolution of tax were received till November nd the rest will be released soon.

On Parab's claim that Rs 1,611 crore received by the state under the disaster management aid was not a new amount, Fadnavis said Parab had given completely incorrect information.

"The Centre had not only given 10 lakh PPE kits and 16 lakh N-95 masks, but also given Rs 468 crore to Maharashtra for its purchase," he said.

The Opposition leader also accused the state government of not conducting enough coronavirus tests.

"Of the total patients in the country, 33 per cent are in Maharashtra while 40 per cent deaths occured in the state. ow can the state pat its own back in such situation?" he asked.

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