No windfall gains for state, but Adhir manages some
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This year's rail budget — a first in the last four years not presented by a Trinamool Congress MP — did not disappoint Bengal as Berhampore MP Adhir Chowdhury who is Minister of State for Railways managed to get some new trains and projects for his home district Murshidabad.
The district got a short train service — Sealdah-Berhrampore MEMU, a skill development programme centre and extension of Kolkata-Berhampore Court Express to Lalgola.
The state has been given five new express trains and train routes of eight trains originating or culminating in the state have been extended. (See box). For the residents of Kolkata and neighbouring areas, the budget stated that the Dum Dum-Noapara Metro project will be completed by March and the construction of the East-West Corridor, which is underway, will be taken forward. Besides the number of train services and the rakes of the coaches of Metro will also be increased.
However, the money allocated for the project has been drastically reduced, said Metro Rail sources. According to them, the total project cost of Dum Dum-Noapara Metro was Rs 2,300 crore. But Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has allotted only Rs 17 crore for the project for the next financial year. Similarly, the East-West Metro project cost has been pegged at Rs 4,800 crore, but this year only 100 crore has been allocated for it.
Moreover, this year no new survey for new train routes in Bengal has been sanctioned. Besides, no laying down of double lines and new electrification of train routes have been proposed.
The fate of the Rs 200 crore wagon component manufacturing factory at Jellingham in Nandigram also seems to be hanging in balance.
An angry Trinamool termed the budget "anti-people" and "directionless".
Trinamool Congress MP Sougata Roy said the budget was been prepared in utter vengeance against the Trinamool. "We are not in favour of this budget as this budget has been prepared to foil all the projects that had been intiated by former rail minister Mamata Banerjee," he said.