Metro link: Jan deadline for shift

Belghoria: The state government is moving to relocate by January the remaining 70 settlers from a railway plot over which the tracks of the Noapara-Baranagar-Dakshineswar Metro will run.

"We are committed to shifting the remaining 70 families this month. After that the railways will have the entire plot to work on," said Gopal Saha, the chairman of the Trinamul Congress-run Kamarhati Municipality, the local civic body.

The Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), the implementing agency of the Noapara-Baranagar-Dakshineswar project, wants to start work on erecting 11 pillars to support the elevated tracks immediately after the rest of the plot is handed over to them.

Work on three pillars started after a portion of the plot was handed over to RVNL following the relocation of 132 families.

"We want to start piling work for the remaining 11 pillars as early as possible. So getting the entire land is very important for us," said Abhijit Roy, chief project manager, RVNL. "We have set 2019 as the deadline for the completion of the 4.5km project."

Altogether, 202 families had illegally settled on the railway land located along the railway tracks between Belghoria and Dum Dum stations. The settlement has come to be known as Rajibnagar.

The Metro project had been stuck in a land logjam for seven years, with the settlers refusing to move and the government refusing to take any initiative to break the impasse.

The government later changed its stand and the transport department allotted Rs 10 crore for building a 300sq ft house for each family. The houses have been built around 3km from the plot.

The first batch of 50 families were relocated in October, followed by another 82 families in December. Once the remaining 70 families move out, the plot will be free of all encroachments.

The Noapara-Dakshineswar project has been in the Centre's focus for some time. On September 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in an interactive session asked Bengal chief secretary Malay De why the project had been stalled and the encroachers were not being removed.


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