Huge crowds of migrant labourers, hopeful of catching a train home, gathered at Mumbai’s CST terminal this afternoon. Till late in the evening, they were still there.
Such huge crowds outside Mumbai’s railway stations have become a regular occurrence – most of them never make it to the train because they have not registered themselves for the special trains run by the Centre for migrant labourers.
Videos from outside the CST terminal showed thousands of people waiting with their luggage till late in the evening.
The last time this happened was last Tuesday, when people bound for Bihar had gathered outside Mumbai‘s Bandra Terminus and waited till they were turned back by the police. Only the registered people were allowed to board the train.
While it is the Mumbai Police which is in charge of registration, the state government has also blamed the Centre for the build-up of the crowd.
Today, Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik accused the Centre of playing politics over the special trains for migrant labourers.
“For the last two days the railway minister (Piyush Goyal) has been playing politics. He allotted 49 trains to carry migrants from the Lokmanya Tilak Station. But the DRM (Divisional Railway Manager) has been saying that they can’t allow more than 16 trains. Passengers for 49 trains have been waiting at the station,” Mr Malik said, adding to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s claim that Maharashtra got only half the trains it asked for.
“I think he (Mr Goyal) is deliberately playing politics,” Mr Malik said.
In a series of tweets around 2 am on Monday, Piyush Goyal had countered the Chief Minister’s allegation, saying his ministry would work overnight if it received within an hour a list of trains, passengers and destinations from Mr Thackeray.
Today, the minister had hit out again at the Maharashtra government, saying the railways could run only 13 trains till 3 pm, even though it had planned 145, just for lack of passengers.
Over the last weeks, Mumbai, which employs a huge number of migrant labourers, have been witnessing a reverse migration. Thousands have registered to go home by the special trains being run by the Centre. Others have been taking buses, illegal trucks and even walking.