The chief minister in-waiting for West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, presented the railway budget for the nation showering sops for her state which is all set to witness one of its most crucial Assembly polls in the last three decades.
Apart from introducing a volley of new trains and laying new railway lines, Banerjee announced setting up several industries, a polytechnic college, a software excellence park and expansion plans of the Kolkata Metro Railways for her home state where her party is believed to topple the Left Font in its own bastion.
The budget however evoked a mixed response from among the citizens back in Bengal.
Starting from a software excellence park in the trouble torn district of Darjeeling to a Rail Industrial Park at Nandigram in East Midnapore and a metro railway coach factory in Singur, Banerjee announced an expansion spree for the Kolkata Metro adding 34 new services with a view to bring major parts of greater Kolkata under its ambit.
She also proposed to strengthen the suburban railways in Kolkata along with other mega cities and simultaneously start a pilot project for providing shelter to the thousands of homeless people living along the railway tracks risking their lives.
She announced 56 new Express train among which more than 20 are to start from West Bengal. Out of the nine new Duronto trains that she announced two trains would be starting from Kolkata.
The frequency of two Duronto starting from Kolkata announced in 2010 was increased.
In a bid to strengthen the suburban train services in Kolkata the minister announced 50 new suburban trains.
Banerjee proposed to set up Kolkata Rail Vikas Corporation (KRVC) on the lines of Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), which will raise funds through banks and other financial institutions, Municipal Corporation and other stakeholders.