Railway projects stuck in West Bengal due non-availability of land: Centre | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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Railway projects stuck in West Bengal due non-availability of land: Centre

Sep 09, 2023 11:27 AM IST

In a letter written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed that railway infrastructure projects to the tune of Rs.50,915 crore are in progress in West Bengal

The Centre has informed the West Bengal government that at least 61 railway projects are stuck in the state as requisite land could not be acquired.

Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw (File Photo)
Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw (File Photo)

In a letter written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed that railway infrastructure projects to the tune of Rs.50,915 crore are in progress in West Bengal.

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However, most of the railway projects falling fully or partly in West Bengal are not progressing due to the non-availability of requisite land, stated the letter.

“Railways had initiated efforts for the acquisition of land for most of the sanctioned railway projects but could not succeed in acquitting land for these projects. Consequently, the remaining sanctioned railway projects in the state could not be taken forward,” reads the letter.

The budgetary allocations for railway projects in West Bengal for the financial year 2023-24 was Rs.11,970 crore, which is the highest allocation among all states, Vaishnaw had told reporters in February this year.

Further, in the letter, the railway ministry has requested the West Bengal government to initiate intervention in the procurement of land required for the completion of the pending projects.

“I would request you to issue suitable instructions to the concerned officers to expedite the process of land acquisition so that execution of the projects may be taken up,” Vaishnaw wrote.

Meanwhile, the issue triggered a political row with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of “deliberately stalling railway projects” ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

“This (TMC-led) government has no focus on development. They don’t want the railway projects to get going. They don’t know how to work for the people and stand beside them. Their only focus is vote bank and that’s why they are playing politics,” said Samik Bhattacharya, BJP spokesperson.

The TMC has hit back saying that the West Bengal government is aware of what people need and how to best work for them.

“Banerjee has been the Union railway minister earlier and the state got some of the best projects during her tenure. So, the BJP’s railway minister need not teach her what’s best for railway projects in West Bengal,” said Kunal Ghosh TMC spokesperson.

“It is unfortunate that railway projects are stuck due to non-availability of land. The entire country is facing hassles over land acquisition. The problem is more acute in West Bengal. Both the Centre and the state have to come forward,” Adhir Chowdhury, Congress MP, told reporters.

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