Headlines May 28, 2020
Kerala criticises Centre for sending trains without prior alert
After Maharashtra, Kerala has criticised the handling of special trains by the Railways Ministry. Kerala says the Centre’s methods of sending trains without prior information could upset the protocol followed by the state to curb the infections.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the issue while the state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has alleged that the railways “want to be the super spreader” of the disease in Kerala.
Kerala has so far had 896 coronavirus cases. 72 people who returned from Maharashtra have tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala along with 71 from Tamil Nadu and 35 from Karnataka. On Tuesday, Kerala recorded 67 new COVID-19 cases.
The Chief Minister said Kerala had no objections to its people returning home but lack of prior information is proving a problem and it could affect the state’s anti-coronavirus programme.
A train from Mumbai came without Kerala being informed. This will subvert the surveillance system. I raised it with railway minister. But after this another train was scheduled for Kerala without informing the state. This will derail or subvert the state’s attempts to contain COVID 19. I have raised this with the Prime Minister. – Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Chief Minister
The chief minister added that authorities need the list in advance to make proper arrangements for screening and home quarantine. “Any failure to do so will undermine the measures taken by the government to ensure proper monitoring to prevent the spread of the disease,” he added.
The spike in coronavirus cases in opposition-ruled Maharashtra has become a huge political issue. Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been regularly accusing the Uddhav Thackeray government of failing to control the pandemic.
Maharashtra is also caught up in a conflict with the Centre over the running of special trains for migrants. While the state has accused the Centre of not providing an adequate number of trains, the Centre said it could not run the trains for lack of passengers. Over the last weeks, huge crowds of people have been seen outside the railway stations in Mumbai.
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