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CM push for Metro links

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee called chief secretary Sanjay Mitra and the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited managing director to her room at Nabanna on Thursday to give a nudge to the Joka-BBD Bag and New Garia-Airport Metro projects that have run into several roadblocks.

Officials said Mamata waived the Rs 256 crore that the CMDA had demanded from RVNL, the implementing agency of the two projects. The CMDA charges the fee if any agency uses its land for construction purposes.

“The CM also asked the urban development department to instruct the CMDA to issue a no-objection certificate to RVNL so it can continue work on laying tracks on the Bypass for the New Garia-Airport project,” said a source.

The CMDA last year had lodged an FIR against RVNL, alleging that the agency was going ahead with the project without its clearance.

“The chief minister made it clear that she wants the work to pick up pace and assured us of all support to ensure speedy execution of the two projects,” RVNL chief Satish Agnihotri said. “The meeting was fruitful and we hope things would gather momentum.”

A state official pointed out that Mamata’s intervention was an indication of how the government has changed its attitude towards infrastructure projects that are floundering because of encroachment and other reasons.

Mamata’s intervention came after a 90-minute meeting between the government and RVNL officials discussed ways to remove the hurdles.

The day’s earlier meeting — attended by the chief secretary, RVNL officials, and representatives of government departments and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation — decided that a joint inspection would be conducted at a site in Joka where a maintenance depot for the Joka-BBD Bag Metro will come up (see chart).

The government had officially handed over the plot to RVNL in 2012 but the agency is yet to take possession because of resistance from land-losers.

The meeting also decided that an IIT expert will be requested to conduct a study for building a pier on the Eastern Drainage Canal for which the urban development department is yet to issue a clearance. The pier will be part of the New Garia-Airport project.