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Minister takes a face swipe

Haldia, Dec. 9: Junior railway minister Adhir Chowdhury today said the state director-general of police did not attend a meeting he had held yesterday to discuss the speed of night trains in Jungle Mahal, adding that “they may not like my face”.

“I will call him (DG Naparajit Mukherjee) again. They (those in the state administration) may not like my face. If necessary, I will ask somebody else to call him,” Adhir said after laying the foundation of a coach factory in Haldia.

“We need to hold a meeting because the speed of night trains in Jungle Mahal has to be increased. Trains are getting delayed because they are running slowly (through the Maoist-hit region),” Chowdhury said.

Calls to Mukherjee’s cellphone went unanswered.

Night trains were suspended in Jungle Mahal after the alleged Jnaneswari Express sabotage in 2010 in which around 160 people were killed. Services resumed last December, but the average speed of 110-115kmph was reduced to 70-75kmph.

Trains to cities such as Chennai, Mumbai and Pune pass through the region.

“We can’t increase the speed even though peace has returned to Jungle Mahal... the state government is not co-operating,” Adhir said.