Pune: Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Sunday said 12 lakh migrant workers had been sent to their native states from Maharashtra by trains amid the lockdown for the coronavirus outbreak, and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government had borne their travel expenses.
He added that 5.5 lakh migrants were dropped till state borders in ST buses.
"The Railway ministry said it would bear 85 per cent of the travel cost but not a single penny has been received so far. The entire cost of Rs 100 crore was taken from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund," Deshmukh said.
Queried on senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis criticising the Maharashtra government over the handling of the COVID-19 situation, Deshmukh said the former must not play politics at such a time.
Asked about Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut wondering if actor Sonu Sood, in the news for sending migrants home by chartering buses, was being backed by the BJP, Deshmukh said anybody who comes forward to help in such times must be welcomed.
"I have not heard what Sanjay Raut said but be it Sonu or any body else, if anybody is coming forward and helping in the current situation, the person needs to be welcomed," said the minister.
In his weekly column 'Rokhthok' in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', Raut questioned the sudden rise of "Mahatma" Sood on the social scene of Maharashtra during the lockdown.
Raut had also referred to a "sting operation" against Sood ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, saying he had agreed to promote the BJP-led government at various platforms through his official social media accounts.