(Eds: Adding details and quotes) Mumbai, May 17 (PTI) Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Sunday alleged that West Bengal and Bihar are not issuing required clearances to run trains at a number desired by the state government, saying they are 'very slow' in responding.
He also said a total of 20 lakh migrants, most of them from Bihar and West Bengal, have registered themselves with the Maharashtra government so far for travelling back to their native states in special trains.
Deshmukh's statement came close on the heels of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal accusing some Opposition-ruled states, including West Bengal, of reluctance to requisition trains for migrants settled in other states.
'The state Home department has received an enrolment of some 20 lakh people, most of them to Bihar and West Bengal, who have expressed their wish to return to their home states,' Deshmukh told reporters.
'However, the problem is that states like West Bengal and Bihar are not issuing required clearance for running the trains,' he said.
Deshmukh further said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP president Sharad Pawar had already spoken to CMs of Bihar and West Bengal, 'but they are very slow in responding'.
The senior NCP leader said the minimum requirement of trains for Maharashtra alone is around 800.
'If all the migrant labourers to be sent back, we would need more than 1,000 trains,' the home minister said.
'Going by the current speed at which migrants are enrolling themselves (to travel back), daily 50 trains will have to be run from all the major stations. At least ten trains have to be run daily to Bihar and West Bengal,' he said.
However, the governments of West Bengal and Bihar are not giving permissions to run trains at a number desired by the Maharashra government.
'When we informed the governments of West Bengal and Bihar that the registered number of migrant labourers in Maharashtra can fill up to 25 trains each, we got the permission to run one or two trains only. It is sad to see the plight of the migrant labourers,' he said.
Deshmukh said the state Home department has been in touch with various governments seeking their approvals for repatriation of migrants in special trains.
He said the state government has been footing the train fare of migrants and also providing them food and water for journey. PTI ND NSK NSK