Peeved at not being kept in the loop by the Indian Railways, the West Bengal has alleged that projects were being implemented in a unilateral manner.
West Bengal Transport Minister Ranajit Kundu told reporters at the State Secretariat that the state government should have a say in the projects that the Centre was implementing in West Bengal. Mr Kundu is the state’s new transport minister, who has stepped into the shoes of the late Subhas Chakraborty.
Referring to the Metro Rail extension project flagged off on Saturday by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, he said, “This is a joint project of the Centre and the State governments”. Mr Kundu stayed away from the meeting saying that he was not invited properly and gracefully. He also protested that Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was not invited to the programme.
The inauguration saw the participation of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and several Tollywood stars, besides the Trinamool MPs and senior Railway officials. But there was no representation from the State government.
It may be mentioned that since her assuming charge, Ms Banerjee has flagged off ladies’ specials, short-distance trains, passenger facility centres and now the Metro extension.
At an interactive session with the industry, she said that she was impatient and wanted change, fast. She invited industrialists to join hands with the Railways for public-private partnership projects (PPP) saying that the huge land bank of the railways – of about 1.12 lakh hectares was waiting to be tapped.
Highlighting the proposed dedicated freight corridor, (which ends at Dankuni in West Bengal), she mentioned the many projects that were in the pipeline including a coach factory. She has already hinted that the Singur land could be utilised by the Railways for setting up a project after return of the 400 acres of land.