Mamata writes to 18 CMs, seeks help for stranded workers from Bengal


Coronavirus, Coronavirus lockdown, Coronavirus lockdown bengal, Coronavirus lockdown Mamata Banerjee, Mamata Banerjee, indian express

People offer food to the homeless and the poor at Howrah station on Thursday. (Express photo: Partha Paul)

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to 18 of her counterparts, asking them to assist workers from Bengal stranded in their state because of the lockdown imposed to contain the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The letter was addressed to the chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

“Bengal has many workers semi skilled and unskilled, working in different parts of the country,” Banerjee said in the letter. “Due to complete lockdown in the country for COVID-19 pandemic, many Bengal workers could not travel back, and are stuck at different places.”

Banerjee said her administration was receiving SOS calls from these people.

“They are generally in groups of 50-100, and can be easily identified by the local administration,” the chief minister added. “Since, it is not possible for us to reach any help to them. I take the opportunity to request you to kindly ask your administration to provide them basic shelter, food and medical support during the period of crisis. We in Bengal are taking care of such stuck people in our state."

Banerjee said her government’s chief secretary would send across the details of the stranded labourers to his counterparts to speed up the process of humanitarian support.

On Thursday, the chief minister visited different wholesale markets here, and asked sellers to practise social distancing. She urged the police to ensure the distribution of essential commodities. Among the markets she visited were Posta Bazar in North Kolkata’s Chitpur locality, Janbazar, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road and Park Circus in the city’s central part, and Gariahat market in the south.

Banerjee drew circles at Janbazar and Posta Bazar to demonstrate how far away people should stand from each other. All the markets will be open from 7 am to 5 pm, the chief minister added.

After the countrywide lockdown owing to the Covid-19 pandemic came into effect Tuesday midnight, a large No words... pic.twitter.com/zqejgnntvk

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, CM Banerjee also went to various wholesale marketplaces in Kolkata, where she directed the shopkeepers to maintain proper distance to avoid infections in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. She also directed that all markets be open from 7am to 5pm.