Railway officials on Saturday said there was no proposal on record from the West Bengal government to run any more 'Shramik Special' trains to ferry migrant workers the state as the issue snowballed into a political slugfest.
The Indian Railways reaction came minutes after the TMC said they planned to run eight trains to ferry migrants from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Telangana over the next three days.
The railway said they did not even have the proposal yet for the train, which the TMC claimed has been scheduled from Hyderabad to Malda on Saturday at 3 pm.
The Indian Railways has so far run only two trains to West Bengal, one from Rajasthan and the other from Kerala, officials said.
According to the guidelines issued by the railways for these trains, the proposal has to be received from both the states along with the number of passengers for these trains to run. The officials said the railways has 47 trains planned for Saturday so far, but none of them were bound for West Bengal.
Officials also pointed out that Bengal had claimed that the eight trains will carry 31,000 people, which would mean close to 3900 per train, and said there is no train with such capacity. A Shramik train on average carries 1200 passengers, keeping in mind social distancing norms, they said.
The TMC on Saturday had accused union home minister Amit Shah of "lying" about the West Bengal government not allowing trains to reach the state, and said they have already planned eight trains to ferry migrants from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Telangana.
The state government also released a circular that showed the details of the trains to be run till May 12 and also the number of migrant workers with their home districts.
It was issued after Shah on Saturday wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying while the Centre has facilitated more than two lakh migrants to return home, it is not getting expected support from the state.
He said migrant workers from Bengal are also eager to reach home and the central government is also facilitating the train services.
"But we are not getting expected support from West Bengal. The state government of West Bengal is not allowing the trains reaching to West Bengal. This is injustice with West Bengal migrant labourers. This will create further hardship for them," Shah wrote.