Move to transfer East-West Metro shares gains pace

On Adhir's initiative, crucial meeting to finalise details will be held on Thursday

After a lull of over two months, the process to transfer the majority stake in the East-West Metro line in Kolkata from the state government to the Indian Railway is slowly gathering momentum.

Thanks to the personal initiative Minister of State for Railway, Adhir Chowdhury, a crucial meeting to finalise the details of transfer will be held on Thursday between the West Bengal government, the Ministry of Urban Development and the Railways. Congress MP, Deepa Dasmunsi, a known Mamata-baiter, is now the MoS (Urban Development).

The transfer will place 74 per cent of the project share with the railways. But the state government has been dragging its feet in initiating steps to transfer its equity in the project for money.

Till April 2012, the project had received Rs 942.95 crore, including Rs 402.25 crore loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The state government has paid around Rs 242.5 crore, which includes equity capital and subordinate debt. As per the new arrangement, the Centre would reimburse this amount to the state government.

Earlier while Mamata Banerjee was Railway Minister, she had tried to wrest control of the project from the Left Front-led government. The Union Cabinet had approved the transfer in August. But by then the political dynamics had started changing. Mamata, due to differences with the Congress, was taking less interest in the affairs of Centre and eventually pulled out of the UPA coalition.

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