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Quit Politicising Migrants' Woes in Times of Virus, Cyclone Aftermath: Mamata Tells BJP

By: Sujit Nath

News18.com

Last Updated: June 05, 2020, 18:54 IST

Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (File Image)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (File Image)

Banerjee accused the central government of politicising the issue of the migrant workers and only thinking of forming government at a time of crisis.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday slammed the Centre for engaging in divisive politics and contributing to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Environment Day in Kolkata, Banerjee, without naming Union BJP ministers Amit Shah and Piyush Goyal, accused them of politicising the issue of migrants even in times of crisis.

"In Bengal, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased because of the Centre’s poor planning while announcing the nationwide lockdown. Even after the lockdown restrictions were relaxed, they simply shrugged off the responsibility of the migrant workers and left them on the roads. So many migrants died while on the trains. They were also not properly screened while leaving nor were made to follow safety norms. The cases in West Bengal were under control but the numbers increased due to the Centre's poor planning while sending the migrant workers back home.”

“The most unfortunate part is even in such a time, their (BJP) leaders are talking about forming government in Bengal.This is not the time for politics,” she added.

“At a time when we were standing beside the people during coronavirus and the Cyclone Amphan crisis, their (BJP) leaders were hiding in AC rooms. So far, 10 lakh workers have been brought back to Bengal. We will bear both the train and bus fares,” the chief minister said.

After Union Home Minister Amit Shah hit out at the Trinamool supremo for not allowing adequate trains for migrant workers, Banerjee on Wednesday rubbished all allegations and claimed that her government has so far brought back 8.5 lakh (10 lakh till Friday) people stuck at various parts of the country.

Without naming Shah, Mamata said, ”Some people have accused us of not accepting more trains or not willing to accept migrant labourers. I would like to clarify that this is completely misleading. We never said that migrants should not enter Bengal. We said that they should not be brought back in trains in a staggered manner in order to maintain social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19," Mamata said.

Mamata had also urged the Centre for one-time financial assistance of Rs 10,000 each from the PM-CARES fund for migrant labourers as they are suffering from acute financial problem.