Mamata Banerjee govt to bear entire cost of migrants returning to Bengal by special trains
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday announced of bearing the entire cost of movement of stranded people including migrant labourers from Bengal who will return home in special trains from different parts of the country.
Stating that no migrants will be charged, Banerjee tweeted: "Saluting the toil faced by our migrant breathen, I am pleased to announce the decision of Government of West Bengal to bear the entire cost of movement for our migrant workers by special trains from other states to West Bengal. No migrant will be charged."
In her tweet the Chief Minister has also stated that a the state Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha wrote to Chairman of Railway Board Vinod Kumar Yadav clearing the state's stand in this regard and urged to ensure that "no costs may be claimed from those boarding these Shramik Special Trains, destined for West Bengal, at the station of origin."
This comes when four migrant labourers from Purulia district were killed in road accident on their way back home in which live of total 24 people were claimed at Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh.
Condoling their death, the Chief Minister tweeted: "Extremely saddened to hear of the tragic road accident in Auraiya, Uttar Pradesh. My condolences to the families of the migrant brothers and sisters who have lost their lives. May their souls rest in peace. Praying for recovery of those injured." Her government announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to next of kin of each of the four victims.
Besides taking initiatives to bring back its stranded people, the state government is leaving no stone unturned to check spread of COVID-19 in Bengal and number of swab tests has doubled in just eight days. Till May 8 total number of tests were 35,767 that went up to 77,288 on Saturday. As many as 115 people tested positive due to COVID-19 and the disease claimed seven lives in the past 24 hours.
Giving a detailed information on movement of the 105 special trains, the state Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said: "Permission has been given to all concerned states and requisition to the Railway Board have been made to run the trains."
"There is no need to take ticket. In a bid to make it clear that who can board the special trains, I would like to inform that there is a list containing details of 2,92,395 people who had approached us seeking help for transport facility to return home. The data has been shared with nodal officers of each states and they also have their own data. Based on the same, respective state authorities will be sending our people back home in these special trains. Two trains have reached Bengal on Saturday while one will enter on Sunday," Bandyopapdhyay said adding that lakhs of people including migrant labourers will return in these trains from 16 states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telengana.
Bandyopadhyay also announced that the first flight with people stuck in abroad will land Kolkata Aiprot on May 18 with 160 passengers. The state government has informed the Centre about all preparedness including quarantine facilities in place.
He further stated that so far 24,349 entry passes have been issued to return Bengal in one's own transport arrangement and so far 1,14,992 people have come to the state by applying for the same. Similarly, 2,15,915 people have left Bengal to reach their home state by availing online exit passes.
In a bid to ensure fast health screening of people reaching borders of Bengal, the testing arrangement has been decentrailised.