With five of 12 workers killed in the Mizoram stone quarry collapse hailing from West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday expressed her apprehensions over the frequent deaths of migrant workers from the state.
“Majority of the migrant workers killed in different accidents in the recent past were from West Bengal. Just compare the statistics from the last few months. Probably migrant workers from other states have also died elsewhere. But the number of deaths is maximum for those going from West Bengal. Take the examples of Mizoram, Kashmir, and Manipur. I do not know what is happening,” she told media persons here.
Of the five workers from West Bengal reportedly killed in the recent stone quarry collapse in Mizoram, four were from Nadia district and one from North 24 Parganas district.
The Chief Minister assured financial assistance to the families of the victims, as well as a state government job to one member from each of the five families.
However, her comments on the high rate of deaths of migrant workers from West Bengal elsewhere have already started creating ripples in political circles.
Recently, the principal opposition parties in the state like the BJP, the Left Front, and Congress have repeatedly attacked state government policies as the main reason for a large number of migrant workers from West Bengal going to other states to earn their livelihoods.
The opposition parties claimed that since the state government policies are not conducive to industrial development and employment generations, the workers and brains from the state are forced to move elsewhere to earn their livelihoods.
Political observers feel that probably the Chief Minister had felt that the same criticism might be hurled by the opposition again after the Mizoram tragedy and hence she has tried to seal those avenues by expressing her concern over the deaths of those from the state.