Denying the allegation that her government was not willing to bring back labourers, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the state has facilitated the return of 8.5 lakh people at a cost of Rs 40 crore.
Earlier in the day, she appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide Rs 10,000 to every migrant worker displaced by the lockdown.
“I appeal to Central Govt to transfer Rs 10,000 each as one-time assistance to migrant labourers, including people in unorganised sector. A portion of PM-CARES could be used for this,” Banerjee tweeted.
The BJP hit out at her, saying the state government should provide financial aid to migrant workers from its own coffers. Talking to reporters in Indore, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is the party’s in-charge for West Bengal, asked, “Why is the Banerjee government not giving financial help to migrant labourers of West Bengal? She is in power in that state and not sitting in the opposition. Why isn’t her government providing help from its coffers?”
Later in the evening, in a press conference, Banerjee said of the 8.5 lakh migrant workers, 6.5 lakh returned by road and 1.5 lakh by train. “Some people are spreading rumours that my government was not willing to bring back migrant labourers. This is false. So far, we have brought back 8.5 lakh migrants and by June 10, a total of 10.5 lakh of them will have returned,” she said.