Maha govt politicising Shramik trains; 145 planned on Tuesday, less than 10 per cent run: Goyal
New Delhi, May 26: As the feud between the Maharashtra government and railways refuses to die down, the national transporter accused the state on Tuesday of politicising the migrants issue and alleged that despite trains being ready, passengers were not available.
In a series of tweets over a span of four hours, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said Shramik Special trains that were planned to have originated from Maharashtra failed to do so because of the state's lack of preparedness.
He said 145 such trains were planned to be operationalised from Maharashtra on Tuesday, but less than 10 per cent could actually run due to non-availability of passengers.
"Till 6 pm, 85 out of the 145 trains were to run from Maharashtra today (Tuesday), out of which only 27 could run due to non-arrangement of passengers by the state government.
"I request the Maharashtra government again to please help us take the poor labourers to their homes," Goyal tweeted.
Earlier, he tweeted, saying the railways had planned to run 50 trains from Maharashtra by 3 pm, but only 13 could be operationalised.
"On request of Maharashtra Govt, we arranged 145 Shramik Special Trains today. These trains are ready since morning. 50 trains were to leave till 3 pm but only 13 trains have due to lack of passengers.
"I request Maharashtra Government to fully cooperate in ensuring that the distressed migrants are able to reach their homes and bring passengers to Stations in time, and not cause further delays. It will affect the entire network and planning," the minister said.
"The Maharashtra government has tried to politicise the difficulties of migrant labourers," he alleged. Earlier, the railways issued statements, saying it had planned 125 trains for evacuating migrants from Maharashtra on May 25, but the state government was only able to give information for 41 till 2 am.
"Out of these 41 trains, only 39 could run as passengers could not be brought by local authorities and two trains had to be cancelled.
"After meticulous planning and sustained efforts, the railways mobilised its resources at a very short notice and prepared 145 Shramik trains to depart from Maharashtra on May 26," a statement issued by the national transporter said.
"Till 12 noon, 25 trains were planned to run from Maharashtra but no departure could happen due to lack of passengers. Boarding for the first train could only commence at CSMT at 12.30 pm," it added.
According to the railways, 68 trains from Maharashtra were planned to depart for Uttar Pradesh, 27 for Bihar, 41 for West Bengal, two each for Odisha and Tamil Nadu and one each for Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Kerala.
A political slugfest over the Shramik Special trains is going on between Goyal and the Maharashtra government for the last two days, with the state alleging that not enough trains are being provided to it.
On Sunday night, Goyal said, "We are ready to provide 125 Shramik Special trains to Maharashtra." "Since you have said you have a list ready, I am requesting you to please provide all information like from where the trains will run, the list of passengers according to the trains, their medical certificates and where the trains are to go to the general manager of Central Railway within the next hour, so that we can plan the time of the trains," he had said in a tweet.
Taking a dig at Goyal, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut tweeted on Monday, saying, "The Maharashtra government has given you a list of the workers who wish to return home. The only request is that the trains should reach the station, as announced earlier." A Gorakhpur-bound train had reached Odisha, the Rajya Sabha MP pointed out.
He also asked Goyal if the Railway Ministry had made any such list while running the Nagpur-Udhampur train for migrants on May 14. The Indian Railways has so far run 3,276 Shramik Special trains and ferried more than 44 lakh migrants since May 1.
The top five states and Union territories from where the maximum number of trains originated are Gujarat (897), Maharashtra (590), Punjab (358), Uttar Pradesh (232) and Delhi (200). The top five states where the maximum number of these trains terminated are Uttar Pradesh (1,428), Bihar (1,178), Jharkhand (164), Odisha (128) and Madhya Pradesh (120).