Covid-19: Pawar asks govt to take step to avoid repeat of Bandra incident

Migrant workers gather outside Bandra West Railway Station as they defy lockdown norms and request to leave for their native places after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the extension of nationwide lockdown till May 3. Photo: PTI
Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday termed as unfortunate the gathering of migrant workers outside the Bandra railway station and stressed such incidents should not recur in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

He said people gathered outside the station after somebody circulated the rumour that trains services will resume, adding precautions need to be taken to ensure that such confusing messages are checked.

The former Union minister also urged political parties to desist from scoring points over each other during the ongoing crisis and asked them to defeat Covid-19 collectively.

An unfortunate incident took place outside the Bandra station yesterday. Somebody spread the rumour that train services will resume and local people gathered there. Unfortunately, social distancing was not observed, Pawar said in a Facebook address.

"I would also request political parties that we may fight politically but this is not the time to score over each other. It is not the time to think who is in power at the Centre and in the state. We should take steps to defeat the coronavirus, he said.

Ignoring lockdown norms, over 1,000 migrant workers who earn daily wages gathered here on Tuesday demanding transport arrangements to go back to their native places, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the coronavirus-enforced curbs till May 3.

The gathering in suburban Bandra, in violation of lockdown norms, created a potential law and order situation for an overstretched police force and the men in uniform resorted to mild force to scatter the crowd.

Probe role of Railways Ministry for migrant crisis: Cong to govt

The Congress on Wednesday urged the government to probe the "role" of the railways ministry for migrant crisis in the country, with party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help the stranded workers reach their villages.

The Congress also questioned the government on why railway bookings continued during the lockdown.

"After all, why does every disaster break on the poor and the workers? Why are decisions not taken while taking them into consideration. Why are they left on God. Why was booking of railway tickets allowed to continue during the lockdown," Priyanka Gandhi asked.

She said the workers were the backbone of the country and the government should help them reach their villages.

"For God's sake, Narendra Modi ji please help them," Priyanka Gandhi said.

"Why were special trains not arranged? Their money has finished and so have their stock of ration. They are feeling insecure and want to go home in their villages. Arrangements should have been made for them. They can still be helped with proper planning," the Congress general secretary said in a tweet in Hindi.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel said the "role" of the railways ministry must be probed for the crisis among the migrants.

"Why were train services abruptly stopped leaving migrants stranded? Why was railways accepting bookings despite no clarity on lockdown extension," he asked.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed in some railway stations in Mumbai on Tuesday after a large number of migrants landed up there looking for trains to reach their homes. Police had to intervene to disperse them.

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