The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nitish message to Mamata

Calcutta, Dec. 23: Railway minister Nitish Kumar breathed pace into a clutch of projects in Calcutta and parts of Bengal in what could be construed as an effort to show predecessor Mamata Banerjee that he cares no less for the state.

“There should be no let-ups in the speed of work and the requisite funds will be released as and when required,” Kumar told railway officials at a meeting in Calcutta on Sunday.

Among Kumar’s priorities in the state are building a railway line between Dum Dum Cantonment and the airport, extension of Metro Railway from Tollygunge to Garia and that of Circular Railway from Princep Ghat to Mahajati Sadan.

The minister has stressed on completing the construction of the new railway line by June, 2006. The project will cost around Rs 111 crore.

Kumar has also asked the authorities to ensure the completion of the Metro rail project by 2007. The extension from Tollygunge to Garia, a span of 8.7 km, will cost Rs 907 crore.

The completion of the Circular Railway extension, at an estimated Rs 115 crore, must be finished by 2004, the minister told the officials at the meeting.

“The minister has also asked us to put equal stress on some key projects in other parts of the state,” an official said. About 273 km of broad gauge line is likely to be laid in the state in 2003-2004. These include the Kakdwip-Namkhana line and the one between Mohinderlalnagar and Amta in Howrah.

The construction of the new line between Bundalpur and Balurghat, completion of the Eklakhi-Balurghat project of the North-East Frontier Railway and the Bajkur-Kanthi project to provide a railway link between Tamluk and Digha are also on the cards.

Kumar said a new bridge will be built between Bandel and Naihati. The Jubilee Bridge will come up at an estimated cost of Rs 130 crore.

The minister added that the Railway Board has sanctioned 40 road overbridges in Bengal. “The state government has agreed to share the cost of 19 of them,” he said.

Among the other projects in the pipeline are 44 new passenger reservation systems (PRS). “The system in Calcutta is the largest computerised PRS in the country with 221 offices. In 2002-’03, 27 new reservation offices were introduced,” a senior railway official said.

The railway is also planning to spend Rs 179 crore to renew tracks over 368 km. “The railway will use its own funds to renew tracks over 175 km,” the official said.

Upgradation of signalling gears and safety measures will be taken up in 67 stations. A subway at Bidhannagar Road station, development of Dankuni as a nodal freight terminal, new route relay interlocking at Howrah and a goods bypass line at Burdwan will be taken up on priority basis, the official said.

“Improvement of passenger amenities at 42 stations in the state and bettering the water supply in 20 stations also figure in our plans,” he added.

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