Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has hit out at Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over latter’s remarks about Centre not providing enough trains for the migrant workers stranded in the western state, in an exclusive conversation with India TV. “It is unfortunate, baseless. I am in regular touch with Maharashtra's Chief Secretary, their nodal officers and even Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. Whenever they have approached us with a problem, we have tried our best to help them out. Their Chief Secretary once called me up at 1 AM in the morning and I had to ask the chief secretaries of other states to seek a solution,” Goyal revealed during the chat.
The Minister said that he was surprised by Thackeray’s statement that Maharashtra wasn’t getting an adequate number of trains from the Centre. “As a matter of fact, the Maharashtra government wasn’t even been able to bring passengers on 65 trains that we scheduled for the state,” said Goyal.
Recounting the chain of events on Sunday, Goyal said that the data of migrants stranded in Maharashtra that had been provided by state authorities was incomplete.
“After our repeated prodding, a list of passengers for 46 trains was provided by them well past midnight. Now, out of these 46 trains, five trains were bound for West Bengal and Odisha, both of which have been recently devastated by Cyclone Amphan,” he said.
“Out of the remaining 41 trains, the list of 511 passengers provided for Kerala was faulty. Kerala denied permission for these trains because of the incomplete data,” the minister complained.
“West Bengal is not ready to accept any incoming trains till June 15,” he noted.
Goyal said the data provided by the Maharashtra government didn’t give complete information about the passengers and their destinations, which made it extremely difficult for the Railways to work out a final running plan.
“They have just dumped the passenger data. How are the Railways supposed to know which passenger is bound for what destination? How could we decide by ourselves what should be the stoppages? They have dealt with it in a very haphazard manner,” he said.