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Rail hub new, clone on track
- 'Calcutta Station' twin due at Majerhat

Railway minister Lalu Prasad on Monday announced plans to set up a fourth passenger terminal in the city at Majerhat.

The feasibility study for the Rs 11-crore project has been conducted by the construction wing of South Eastern Railway (SER) and the report submitted to the Railway Board.

The minister was speaking at the commissioning of the Chitpur terminal, which he named Calcutta Station.

'There is a proposal to build a terminal with six platforms, from which both long-distance and local trains can be operated,' a senior SER official disclosed.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was present at the commissioning, requested the railway minister to pursue the Majerhat project. 'There is a need for another terminal at Majerhat and I request the minister to look into it,' the chief minister said.

According to sources, the state government and railway authorities have already discussed the infrastructure of the proposed terminal.

The Chitpur terminal will not be enough to ease the burden on Howrah and Sealdah stations, feel railway officials.

'With the number of passengers and trains increasing, there will be an urgent need for the fourth terminal,' predicted Basudeb Acharya, chairman of the Railway Standing Committee.

The Circular Railway began operations from the new terminal on Monday. Long-distance trains will start plying from Chitpur in mid-February.

On Monday, however, the railway minister flagged off a special express train to New Jalpaiguri. He also inaugurated services on the Prinsep Ghat-Majerhat section of the Circular Railway.

This will facilitate residents of Naihati, Baruipur and Budge Budge to access the city's central business district.

Lalu Prasad said work on the Dum Dum Cantonment- airport stretch of the Circular Railway will be completed by next month. Two stations will be commissioned at Jessore Road and the airport.

The other projects announced by Lalu Prasad include a dedicated freight corridor between Delhi and Calcutta.

It will be commissioned along with a similar Delhi-Mumbai corridor. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the project soon.

The foundation stone of the Chitpur terminal was laid on May 15, 2003, but work started only a year ago. In the first phase, three platforms have been commissioned. Two more will be added later.

The Chitpur station covers 4,000 sq m. A subway connects it to the bus and taxi stands.

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