Mamata rail budget promise still on paper, officials look for ‘missing town’

FP

On February 25, 2011, presenting her Railway Budget, then railway minister Mamata Banerjee proposed a new rail line between "two towns of West Bengal" — Karimganj and Katwa.

Almost two years later, work on it is yet to begin. The reason? Railway officials have been unable to find the Karimganj town Mamata mentioned.

The Eastern Railway, under whose jurisdiction West Bengal falls, even sought the help of Congress MLA from Katwa Rabindranath Chatterjee — but to no avail.

"It is a ghost location. Nobody knows where it exists, if it does," said a senior official.

The proposal is now set to be taken out of the Railways' blue book, which details all ongoing and pending projects, and buried in the files.

A letter sent to the Railway Board by then CEO (Construction), Eastern Railway, A K Harit, on June 21, 2011, reads: "The location of Karimganj has not been traced in West Bengal in the vicinity of Katwa despite best efforts." The same letter also says that two locations called Karimganj had been traced, but one was in Bihar and the other in Assam.

Railway officials also point to Mamata's announcement to update the survey from Lebukhali to Pratapaditya Nagar — a distance of 3 km. The Eastern Railway has pointed out that, if laid, the 3-km-long track would serve no purpose, being a "dead end". The Railways is now set to dump the proposal.

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