145 trains are standing, Maharashtra government failed to make arrangements for passengers: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal

New Delhi: Fracas over the running of Shramik Special trains between the Maharashtra government and the Ministry of Railways refuses to die down. Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday (May 26) took to social media to say that his ministry planned to run 85 trains out of 145 till 6 PM but only 27 could be run as the state government failed due to lack of passengers.

The Railway Minister urged the Maharashtra government to help his ministry to facilitate poor workers to reach their homes.

Earlier in the day, Goyal tweeted, “On request of Maharashtra Govt, we arranged 145 Shramik Special Trains today. These trains are ready since morning. 50 trains were to leave till 3 pm but only 13 trains have due to lack of passengers.”

In another tweet, he said, “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.”

Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik, however, said that “Centre’s protocol to take permission from Nodal officers of different states for movement of migrants was followed by us. Railway dept was unable to fulfill criteria of plying 150 trains daily. Piyush Goyal is trying to cover up Railway Dept’s failure.”

Earlier, the Railways had issued statements saying that it planned 125 trains for evacuating migrants from Maharashtra on May 25 but the state government was only able to give information for 41 trains till 2 am, adding “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.”

“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,” a statement issued by the Railways said.

According to the Railways, 68 trains were planned to depart for Uttar Pradesh, 27 to Bihar, 41 to West Bengal, one each to Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Kerala and two each to Odisha and Tamil Nadu. Over the past two days, a political slugfest over Shramik Special trains had begun between Goyal and the Maharashtra government with the state alleging that not enough trains were being provided to them.

On Sunday night, Goyal said, “We are ready to provide 125 Shramik Special trains to Maharashtra.”

Commenting on it on Monday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut tweeted, “Maharashtra government has given you a list of workers who wish to return home. The only request is that the train should reach the station, as announced earlier.”