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Pranab, Buddhadeb deplore obstacles to development

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MEETING POINT: Union Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the ceremony to lay the foundation for the East-West Metro Corridor Project, in Kolkata on Sunday. —
MEETING POINT: Union Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the ceremony to lay the foundation for the East-West Metro Corridor Project, in Kolkata on Sunday. —

Special Correspondent

“Development must be kept above politics”

KOLKATA: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have come down strongly on those bent on obstructing development in the State.

Though no names were mentioned, it was only too apparent that they had in mind the principal Opposition party in the State, the Trinamool Congress.

“It is most unfortunate that self-created obstacles are coming in the way of development,” Mr. Mukherjee said here on Sunday.

“Development is for the good of all, not only a particular party, organisation or individual; unless it is kept above politics there can be no worthwhile progress,” he said.

“We want to go ahead. But there are those who for no substantive reason are opposing and obstructing our moves towards development,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said. “History has not forgiven them. History will not forgive them.”

Speaking at the foundation-laying ceremony of the East-West Metro Corridor Project, the two leaders complimented each other on their efforts to initiate development. “In a country like ours there are, as it is, many roadblocks in the way towards development – like funds and technology. But nothing is more regrettable than anyone putting up self-created obstacles… If thorns are strewn on the road to it, they will only prick our feet and not serve any other purpose,” Mr. Mukherjee said.His remarks were particularly significant as they came at a time when there is talk of an electoral alliance between the Congress (which he heads in the State) and the Trinamool Congress for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Only two days ago, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had disapproved of his “appeasing” the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

“Differences in views between political parties come to light particularly during the time of elections. Leaders of different parties will go to the people during the elections. What the people decide will have to be accepted. If the democratic spirit is undermined the very foundations of democracy will be impaired,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

The East-West Metro Corridor Project links the Salt Lake in the city to Howrah — the country’s first metro transit system to pass through a tunnel beneath a river (Hooghly).Describing the Rs.4,874.58-crore project as an “engineering marvel,” Mr. Mukherjee, chief guest at the function, said, “This is the first time in our country that a metro corridor is constructed beneath a river.” He referred to the London Underground that runs through the Thames Tunnel beneath the Thames – “one that we used to think of once as the Eighth Wonder of the World.”

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