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Ashwini Vaishnaw writes to Mamata on lack of land availability for pending Railways projects

New Delhi: Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnawaddresses a press conference on Cabinet Decisions at National Media Centre, in New Delhi,on Wednesday, May 17,2023. (Photo: Qamar Sibtain/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Kolkata, Sep 8 : Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has written a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee complaining about lack of land availability for the completion of as many as 61 pending railway projects in the state.

State government sources said that in the letter the Railways minister has also requested the chief minister to initiate state government intervention in procurement of land required for completion of the pending projects.

In the letter, sources added, the Railways minister has provided a list of 61 projects along with the details of their importance which are stuck due to land availability. He had also pointed out that in most of these cases, direct attempts to procure land by the Railways department were not successful because of local resistance.

Claiming that Railways projects to the tune of Rs 51,000 crore are currently underway in West Bengal, the railway minister said that considering the importance of the projects the state government should initiate land procurement for the completion of the project.

The Union minister also claimed that in the last budget, the Railways had allocated Rs 11,970 crore for different projects in West Bengal, which is the highest in the recent past.

Political observers feel that the announced policy of the state government of “no state intervention” in land procurement has always been a problem for the implementation of different projects in West Bengal. “Now the Railways seems to be suffering because of the same policy hurdles,” said a city- based observer.

On Thursday, Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL), the implementing authority for the Kolkata East-West Metro project, claimed that the work for extension of the project, which enables the connection of the suburbs with Kolkata, is not progressing as per schedule. The corporation has said that there is a delay in the release of funds by West Bengal which has to bear 50 per cent of the cost of the extension work.

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