First trains with West Bengal, Bihar migrants leave Maharashtra

Uddhav, Sharad Pawar speak to CMs of both States over phone, convince them to allow workers back

The first trains carrying migrant workers to Bihar and West Bengal, which had so far disallowed labourers to come back, departed from here on Saturday after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar spoke to two States’ CMs, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said.

He said the Maharashtra government has so far transported about 2.45 lakh migrant workers to their respective home States (except West Bengal and Bihar) by running 191 train services.

State bearing costs

Mr. Deshmukh in a video message said the State government was bearing the expenses of tickets of migrant workers wishing to travel back to their native States.

The trains are being run from parts of Maharashtra to Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh.

“We could not send trains to Bihar and West Bengal since these States did not allow it. But Mr. Pawar and Mr. Thackeray personally spoke to Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar over phone. And today, the first trains carrying migrant workers to these two States leftt,” Mr. Deshmukh said.

The NCP leader also expressed the need to operate at least 10 trains each to both the States on a daily basis.

Notably, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had on Thursday hit out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for not allowing migrants to return and appealed to all States to give Railways an approval to run more trains.

“The CM [Mr. Thackeray] has sanctioned ₹55 crore from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to send these workers home. Ticket fare is not being sought from any worker,” Mr. Deshmukh said.

Over 3 lakh in shelters

He also informed that 3,71,310 migrant workers have camped in 3,884 shelters in Maharashtra and the State government has arranged food for them.

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