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Metro delay finger at rail

The state government on Tuesday blamed the railway authorities for the slow progress of the East-West Metro project that aims to connect Sector V with Howrah Maidan.

“The railways have not been co-operating with the state government for work on East-West Metro,” said state urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya.

“The state helps the railways in development schemes. The railways should return the favour. Everyone needs to co-operate where development is concerned,” added Bhattacharya after a meeting at Writers’ Buildings on Tuesday morning to review the status of East-West Metro, a state government project.

The chief minister attended the meeting.

The railways had asked for Rs 26 crore to allow East-West Metro work below Howrah station and Rs 4.5 crore for work below Sealdah station. “The government paid Rs 4 crore for Howrah and Rs 1 crore for Sealdah but the railways is yet to allow construction,” claimed Bhattacharya.

“Railways officials stopped attending the East-West Metro meetings after the initial phase. We do not know why,” he added.

The railways issued a statement in the evening saying that it could not accept the government’s proposals to dig near the two stations since that would have meant “nearly total disruption of traffic for next two to three years, which was not practical and would have caused major inconvenience to a large number of passengers”.

“So far no workable solution which is agreeable to both has been given by the East-West Metro authorities,” read the statement.

“The chief minister, when he visits Delhi in October, will apprise the Prime Minister about the situation,” said transport minister Ranjit Kundu, who also attended the meeting.

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