UP govt accuses Congress of submitting ‘fake’ bus list for migrants
The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday described as fake the Congress’ list of 1,000 buses submitted to it for transporting migrant workers, and said some of the registration numbers of vehicles given therein were of three-wheelers.
However, the Congress claimed its buses were on the UP-Rajasthan border at Uncha Nagla in Bharatpur and requested permission to get them moving.
All through the day on Tuesday, both sides exchanged a number of letters over the buses that the Congress proposed to provide in order to send stranded migrant workers home.
“We are at the UP border at Uncha Nagla with the buses for the past three hours. The Agra administration is not allowing us to enter. This is the time to show sensitivity. We request you again to grant permission to allow entry of all our buses immediately,” Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s private secretary Sandip Singh said in a letter sent to additional chief secretary, home, Awanish Kumar Awasthi at 3.45 pm on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, the party had reiterated its commitment of providing all the 1,000 buses at Noida and Ghaziabad by 5pm. “Some of our buses are coming from Rajasthan while some are coming from Delhi. The process of getting permits is underway. As the number of buses is high, it may take some hours. As asked by you, we will make efforts to take them to the Ghaziabad/Noida border by 5pm,” said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s private secretary in his letter to Awasthi at 12.15pm on Tuesday.
He even requested the state government to keep the list of passengers and route map ready by 5pm to avoid any problem in their operation, saying, “This will be a historic step when the UP government and the Congress party will keep away their political reservations.”
The Congress response came a few minutes after the state government asked the party to provide the buses to the district magistrates of Noida and Ghaziabad by 12 noon on Tuesday. “Please refer to your letter dated May 18, 2020. As per your letter, you have shown your inability to provide buses at Lucknow and want to provide buses at the Noida and Ghaziabad borders…. Under such a situation, please provide 500 buses to the district magistrate, Ghaziabad, at Kaushambi and Sahibabad bus stops by 12pm. In addition, provide 500 buses to the district magistrate, Gautam Buddha Nagar, at Expomart,” said Awasthi in his letter sent to Priyanka’s private secretary on Tuesday morning.
“We are being stopped on the UP border with Rajasthan near Fatehpur Sikri. We are not being allowed to enter. We are trying to reach Noida/Ghaziabad borders now,” said Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Ajay Kumar Lallu on Tuesday noon.
UP government spokesman and minister for MSMEs Sidharth Nath Singh accused the Congress of providing a ‘fake’ list to the state government. Singh said preliminary inquiry into the Congress list had shown that the list carried registration numbers of three-wheelers.
He showed to the media some documents, saying the list provided by the Congress had numbers of auto-rickshaws, etc and blamed Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for giving a ‘fake’ list.
“This is a three-wheeler number… This is the number of a goods career. This is unfortunate. We condemn it. Congress president Sonia Gandhi should give an explanation for this,” the minister said.
The Congress had provided the list through an email to the state government at about 8 pm on Monday.
In response to the Congress list, Awasthi at about 11.30pm on Monday had asked the party to provide the buses, along with names of drivers and conductors in Lucknow at 10 am on Tuesday. Taking strong exception to the state government’s directives to provide 1,000 buses in Lucknow, the Congress said there was no point in taking empty buses to Lucknow when the migrant labourers were stranded on the UP-Delhi borders.
“A large number of migrant labourers are stuck on the Delhi-UP border and a large crowd is seen at registration centres. Under such circumstances, sending 1,000 empty buses to Lucknow is not only a waste of time and resources, it is also inhuman and a creation of anti-poor mindset…,” said Priyanka’s private secretary in his letter to Awasthi sent at 2.10am on Tuesday.
The Congress had on Saturday requested the state government for permission to run 1,000 buses from Noida and Ghaziabad to carry stranded migrant workers home. The state government accepted the Congress proposal on Monday and informed the party the same afternoon, asking for a list of buses at the earliest.