Railways Minister Piyush Goyal lashed out at the Maharashtra government once again on Tuesday, accusing the state of not providing information about passengers, resulting in many Shramik Special trains, being used to ferry migrant workers stranded by the COVID-19 lockdown, not running.
The Maharashtra government rubbished the charges, accusing the minister of "doing politics"
"The Railways Minister has playing politics for the last two days. He said 49 trains had been allotted for the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus but the DRM (Divisional Railway Manager) says we can't send more than 16 trains. Passengers of 49 trains are over there and railway is not ready to release trains. I think Piyush Goyal and central government are intentionally doing politics. The situation at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus is because of Piyush Goyal," Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said.
Earlier, Mr Goyal tweeted that the Railways had planned 145 trains for Tuesday but only 27 trains could be run till 6:00 pm because the state's government's arrangements.
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.— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) May 26, 2020
On Monday, the Railways had also issued a statement, saying, "After meticulous planning and sustained effort, the Railways mobilised its resources at a very short notice and prepared 145 Shramik trains to depart from Maharashtra on May 26."
Over the past two days, Piyush Goyal and the Maharashtra government have been locked in a wrangle over Shramik Special trains, with the state alleging that not enough trains were being provided to them.
Mr Goyal on Sunday night said that his ministry would work overnight if it received within one hour a list of trains, passengers and destinations from the Maharashtra Chief Minister. The provocation - Mr Thackeray alleging that he had got only half the trains he had asked for.
"Where is the list for 125 trains from Maharashtra? As of 2 am, received list of only 46 trains of which five are to West Bengal and Odisha which cannot operate due to cyclone Amphan. We are notifying only 41 trains for today despite being prepared for 125!!!" - Mr Goyal tweeted at 2:11 am on Monday.
Later, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut hit back: "We have sent the list. The only request for Piyush Goyal is that the train should reach its destination. A train to Gorakhpur should not reach Odisha." He was referring to a migrant train from Maharashtra reaching Odisha instead of UP last week due to a mix-up.