Will take call after considering all aspects: West Bengal on movement of essential goods through Indo-B'desh border

Kolkata, May 6 (PTI) The West Bengal government on Wednesday said it would consider all aspects before taking any call on the movement of essential goods through the Indo-Bangladesh border after the home ministry snubbed it saying such acts of non-compliance will have international implications.

'We will take a call after considering all aspects. There are a lot of things that need to be looked into,' state Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay told reporters.

His comments came hours after the Centre came down heavily on the West Bengal government for not allowing movement of essential goods through the Indo-Bangladesh border, saying such acts will have international implications.

The Union Home Ministry in a letter to the chief secretary also said the state government has not implemented repeated directions of the Centre for free movement of cargo and this amounts to violation of the Disaster Management Act.

Talking about the return of those workers stuck in other states to West Bengal, Bandyopadhyay said the state government believes that a robust plan is required to bring back stranded migrant labourers, tourists, students and pilgrims.

'The state government has been taking steps to bring back these people. Everyday, there are a good number of people who are entering West Bengal through its borders. I would like to tell that we would not stall people in the bordering areas of our neighbouring states like Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Sikkim and Assam,' he said.

'We are trying to bring back all those who have come suddenly at the state borders without information. There will be proper medical protocol, swab tests for all mainly for those who are coming from Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat where number of infection is quite high.

'All of them will be given help and assistance by our local district administration. The transport department is overseeing and arranging return of these people,' he said. The state government has also launched an 'entry app' to help people, stuck in other states and have small vehicles to drive back to West Bengal, a seamless entry following necessary medical protocol, Bandyopadhyay said.

'We appeal to all the people of Bengal-origin stranded in various parts of the country, and have small vehicles, to visit our website and download the entry app, fill up the particulars for a seamless entry into the state,' the home secretary said.

The state government was also preparing another app to help pilgrims stuck in various parts of the country, having facilities like buses or other vehicles, return to the state.

'These pilgrims (in Rishikesh, Vrindaban and in Shirdi) who have got buses have written to us to give permission so that they can come back. For such people we are preparing an app and it will be uploaded on Egiye Bangla website tonight,' he added.

For migrant labourers who do not have arrangements of vehicles to come back, the West Bengal government is talking to the state government officials concerned.

'We already have a detailed database (of those stuck in other states). We will be contacting the concerned state government officials for their return,' the officer stated. PTI SCH PNT SNS ZMN