Consumed with the idea of announcing mega projects for poll-bound West Bengal in the upcoming budget, railways minister Mamataa Banerjee is unlikely to pump in funds to revive the scores of pending projects in the state.
Across the country, 376 railway projects worth an astronomical figure of Rs 1 lakh crore are pending.
In the last three years, 91 projects costing Rs 31, 245.38 crore have been added to the pending list. Of these, 13 projects worth Rs 1,059.85 crore concern Bengal.
Several projects have been lingering for decades. Some of these were announced by Banerjee in her first term as the railways minister between October 1999 to March 2001.
Pending Bengal projects include the 230-km long New Maynaguri-Mathabanga-New Coochbihar to Jogighoppa line and the 85 km link between Tarakeshwar-Bishnupur (both included in 2000-01 budget).
Other schemes moving at a snail's pace include the 7-km link between Azimganj-Murshidabad (Jiaganj) and the 65-km link between Krishnagar and Karimpur. Funding for these projects is unlikely to come in upcoming budget, sources said.
"The most serious problem is that railways projects are announced without pre-project activities... and without due regard to availability of resources. For these reasons, these projects are non-starters," says the 2009 project implementation status report of the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation.
The Railways needs a one-time grant from the Centre to execute the projects, Banerjee had said. But no headway has been made in that direction.