Piyush Goyal. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, May 26 : Union Commerce and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday once again targeted the Maharashtra government, alleging that they failed to make arrangements for passengers to travel to railways stations which resulted in less trains carrying migrants.

"85 trains were supposed to ply out of 145 trains, till 6 PM today, from Maharashtra. However due to the failure of the state government to make arrangements of passengers, only 27 could ply." He added, "I once again request Maharashtra movement to help us take back the poor laborers back home." However, this is not the first time he has taken a dig at the Maharashtra government over the issue. Earlier in the day, he urged Maharashtra government to cooperate with railways for operating the Shramik Special trains.

In a series of tweets, Goyal said, "On request of Maharashtra government, we arranged 145 Shramik Special Trains today. These trains are ready since morning. Fifty trains were to leave till 3 p.m. 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," he said in another tweet.

Goyal's remarks came two days after he asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to share the list of the passengers for arranging Shramik Special trains.

The war of words between the Centre and the state government started after Thackeray had commented on Sunday that though the state wanted 80 trains daily to send migrants home, the Railway Ministry was giving around 30-40 trains.

Even the Central Railways in a statement said that on Tuesday the national transporter had offered 125 trains for evacuation of migrants from Maharashtra. "But the state government was only able to give information for 41 trains till 2 a.m. on May 25. Out of these 41 trains, only 39 trains could run as passengers could not be brought by local authorities and these two trains had to be cancelled," the CR said.

It further said that after meticulous planning and sustained effort, railways mobilised its resources at a very short notice and prepared 145 Shramik trains to depart from Maharashtra on May 26.

"These trains have already been notified for today from Maharashtra as per state wise break up. Till 12 noon, 25 trains were planned from Maharashtra to run but no departure could happen due to lack of passengers. Boarding of the first train could only commence at Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus at 12.30 p.m.," it added.

The Central Railways further said that from Maharashtra 68 Shramik Special trains were supposed to go to Uttar Pradesh, 27 to Bihar, 41 to West Bengal, two to Odisha and Tamil Nadu and one each to Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Kerala.

The Indian Railways, which has suspended the passenger, mail and express train services from March 25 amid the nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of novel coronavirus has started the Shramik Special trains from May 1. The railways also started to operate 15 pairs of the Special air conditioned trains from May 12.

The Shramik Special trains were started to transport the stranded migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims and students. A senior railway ministry official on Tuesday said that till Monday, 3,274 Shramik Special trains have been run and ferried 44 lakh passengers to their home states.

He said that on Monday, the national transporter operated 223 Shramik Specials trains and transported 2.8 lakh passengers. Railways has planned to operate 200 trains from June 1 on time table basis, bookings for which have already started.

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