West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that the Centre had placed some “unacceptable” conditions to help the states financially, and she was not going to bow down before them.
“Four different press statements have been made over the past few days. And the help to the states is based on some conditions which will put the federal structure of governance at stake,” she said. “If we don’t adhere to those, we won’t get the benefits, and as per the conditions, we will get only 0.5 per cent benefit,” she said. “We prefer to walk with out head held high instead of agreeing to such impossible conditions,” she said.
Banerjee on Monday also took on the Opposition political parties in the state saying they are trying to fish in troubled waters. “Some people are saying bring back those stranded elsewhere. I’ll be happy to bring back the people, but we have to be cautious about the entire procedure because we can’t allow an uncontrolled spread of COVID-19,” she said.
The state government has arranged for 115 trains from different parts of the country, and another 120 trains are to bring back more people. With 235 trains, nearly 4 lakh people would be coming into West Bengal in the coming days.
“Some areas have become very vulnerable such as Maharashtra, Indore, Delhi etc, and with such a huge number of people coming in, those in villages are resisting their entry,” she said. She said that already 3 lakh people had come from other states to West Bengal. On Monday, 160 persons had returned from Bangladesh.
“The Centre is taking money from migrant workers. Isn’t that shameful?” Banerjee asked, adding that the Bengal government is paying the fare of all migrant workers coming in trains. The process of bringing back the migrant workers and others stranded in various parts of the country due to the lockdown are being brought in gradually, she said.