Bengal is the only state that was not keen on taking its workers back, Nirmala Sitharaman said (File)
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday criticised the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in West Bengal for allegedly opposing the pro-people policies of the centre and said the state could not be made a beneficiary of the "Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan", as it had not provided any data on migrant labourers.
At a virtual rally addressing the people of Bengal, the Union finance minister also slammed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for "her reluctance to allow Shramik Special train services in the state".
"The West Bengal government has been opposing all pro-people policies of the centre... Six states have shared data on migrant workers, following their return. West Bengal, however, did not," she said.
"Our prime minister launched a scheme which covers 116 districts in the country but none from Bengal could be included as the TMC government didn't bother to share any data with us. The ruling dispensation in Bengal doesn't want any of the centre's welfare policies to be implemented," she said.
Senior TMC leaders had recently criticised the Union government for not making the state a beneficiary in the "Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan", a job scheme for migrant labourers.
Ms Sitharaman, however, appreciated the chief minister for her support to the central government on the issue of the Sino-India border standoff.
"I would credit her for one thing - at least on the Sino-India border issue, she (Mamata Banerjee) stood by the centre," Ms Sitharaman said.
Terming the TMC government as "anti-people", Ms Sitharaman said the state was informed about Cyclone Amphan 11 days in advance, but it failed to take adequate precaution.
Several lives could have been saved, if timely measures were taken, she said.
On West Bengal's alleged unwillingness to bring back migrant labourers, Nirmala Sitharaman said it was the only state that was not keen on taking its workers back.
"The migrant labourers would never forget the treatment you (Mamata Banerjee) have meted out to them. She (Mamata) had said that these special migrant trains were bringing more coronavirus cases to the state. It was a heartless statement," the Union minister said.
Criticising the state government over the "mishandling" of COVID-19 crisis in the state, Ms Sitharaman also said that the inter-ministerial central team that visited the state for assessing the situation had to face several roadblocks.