'Job done, successor only has to monitor'

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 18.05.11
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Mukul Roy at Howrah on Tuesday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Howrah, May 17: Mamata Banerjee made her final appearance as railway minister today, flagging off new trains and promising to “support” her successor before signing off with a word of thanks.

The Trinamul Congress leader, who will put in her papers a day before taking oath as Bengal’s next chief minister, said she was “hopeful” that her party would retain the railway ministry.

“I am hopeful that my successor will be someone from amongst us. I have already marked out the projects that the railways have to undertake. There are 150 new trains to be started this year,” she said at an event at Howrah station’s new complex.

Mamata, who inaugurated 19 projects, said her Vision 2020 would take the railways forward. “The way I am leaving the railways behind, it will run well,” she added.

Junior minister Mukul Roy, who is expected to replace Mamata as railway minister if the Prime Minister agrees, was present at the Howrah event.

If someone from Trinamul does succeed Mamata at Rail Bhavan, chances are her unseen presence will always be felt. Mamata, too, hinted that she would keep an eye on the functioning of the railways.

“Don’t worry. Ek sathe duto kaaj-i kore debo (I’ll do both the jobs together). My successor will get all my support,” she said.

Mamata has been insisting on Trinamul retaining the railway ministry but, at the same time, has maintained that the final decision was the Prime Minister’s.

Mamata said funds earmarked for the projects she had announced in her budget proposals had been provided. “I have given 16 factories to the state. Everything is in place. My successor will only have to monitor. For the Metro railway projects, 60 per cent of the funds have already been given. Within 2-3 years, the projects will be ready. None of the projects is pending,” she said.

Bengal’s chief minister-designate said the railways and the state government would work in tandem. “Both are linked together now. Rail aar sarkar dapiye dapiye cholbe (The railways and the government will march forward),” she said.

Mamata did not attack her vanquished rivals. Instead, her farewell speech had some words of wisdom. “If there is the desire to work, then it is possible to deliver. One has to work hard, pursue constantly, get files cleared and take everyone into confidence,” she said.

The newly elected MLAs from Trinamul along with some MPs were at the station as Mamata flagged off new trains, local and long distance.

Mamata announced a parting gift of Rs 10 lakh each for overall performance for the Katihar, Kharagpur, Sealdah, Howrah, Adra and Alipurduar divisions. Cultural teams from each of the divisions were awarded Rs 5 lakh each, while the Howrah team, which performed today, received Rs 10 lakh.