It's Maha CM vs Railway Minister over Shramik Special

It's Maharashtra CM vs Railway Minister over Shramik Special

A migrant looks through a window during his departure for Odisha by 'Shramik Special' train at Panvel Railway Station, amid the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, in Navi Mumbai, Saturday, May 9, 2020. (PTI Photo)

The political slugfest over Shramik Special trains refuses to die down with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal engaging in a war of words over the issue on Sunday, with the Shiv Sena chief accusing the Railways of not providing enough trains to the state despite demand.

In an address to the state on Sunday, Thackeray said that while he had demanded 80 migrant special trains per day for the state to ferry migrants home, it was getting only 40.

Goyal took a dig at the Maharashtra CM through a tweet, saying the Railways was ready to send as many trains as required to states, provided they do not "return empty".

¨I hope that these trains will not have to leave empty after arriving at the station like it has happened earlier. I would like to assure you that the trains you need will be available," tweeted Goyal, referring to earlier occasions when migrants did not board special trains.

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Thackeray in his address also said that the state had paid Rs 85 crore so far towards these trains.

Goyal tweeted, ¨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 union minister followed this up with another tweet, "Sadly, it has been 1.5 hours but Maharashtra Govt. has been unable to give required information about tomorrow's planned 125 trains to GM of Central Railway. Planning takes time & we do not want train to stand empty at the stations, so it's impossible to plan without full details."

"I hope that the Government of Maharashtra will fully cooperate in the efforts made for the benefit of migrant labourers," he said.

Earlier, Shramik Special trains became a bone of contention between the Centre and states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan with the minister pointing out that these governments were allowing fewer migrant trains to arrive. The state CMś too came out all guns blazing and denied the allegations on Twitter.

So far, 513 trains have terminated in Maharashtra, according to data provided by Railways.

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