KOLKATA: Expressing concern over the alarming rate of Covid infection in Maharashtra, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee accused the railways of sending migrants without consulting her government and sought the intervention on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the matter.
The CM also questioned whether the Centre should be held responsible if Bengal starts witnessing large-scale Covid infection because of sudden arrival of migrant workers from highly-infected zones in the country.
“I came to know 36 trains were scheduled to leave Mumbai carrying migrants on Tuesday. I was not informed about it. Earlier, we requested the railways to send migrants step by step but they did not consult us. We will receive 11 trains on Wednesday and 17 more on Thursday,” Mamata said on Wednesday. “When lakhs of people start arriving, how will we screen them at terminal points? Covid infection rate is under control till date. If thousands get infected because of the railway’s decision, who will be responsible... Will it be the Centre? Do they (the Centre) want to make Bengal like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi?”
The CM also pointed out that there are chances that many of the migrants returning to Bengal have already been infected by Covid-19. On Wednesday, Mamata announced institutional quarantine would be mandatory for the migrants coming from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Chennai. “Task force is being set up in every district to deal with the returnees. Since the schools will not be open till June 30, we will use the buildings to set up state-run quarantine centres,’’the Bengal chief minister said.
BJP ups ante against CM
BJP rolled out a 10-point charge sheet against Mamata, highlighting her government’s failures. Top on the list were the Covid pandemic and the Cyclone Amphan aftermath.