Goyal blames WB govt for delays in completion of some Railway projects

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Kolkata, Feb 17 (PTI) Railway minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday that some projects in West Bengal are suffering delays in completion owing to land acquisition and approval issues and that many of these can be resolved if the state government extends cooperation.

He said that Railway can play an important role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to make West Bengal a premier state in trading and business activity in the country by providing better connectivity and amenities.

'The sad part is we have projects in West Bengal which were approved many years ago but have not seen the light of day because of problems of land acquisition or approvals or various other reasons.

'Many of which can be resolved if the state government cooperates with the Indian Railway,' he said.

Inaugurating a number of infrastructure projects of Eastern Railway through video conferencing, the minister said that delay in completion causes huge cost overrun and loss to the exchequer of the country besides the people do not get the desired benefits.

He said that timely availability of land and other sanctions from the state government 'would ensure that taxpayers' money are properly utilised for the benefit of the people'.

Wishing a 'wonderful revival in the months and years to come for West Bengal' and the various projects that the Railway ministry is planning to do in the state, Goyal said that just before Independence in 1946, it was first in terms of employment and second in terms of manufacturing in India.

'Over the years West Bengal got left behind in the race for development and progress, as is evident from the number of projects that we desired to do in the state but are stuck at different levels, largely owing to land acquisition problems,' the minister said.

He said that railway infrastructures need large and timely availability of land so that projects can be implemented on mission mode.

'There will be no dearth of money for projects in West Bengal,' the minister said, maintaining that the more cooperation, land and approvals are received from the state government, the faster will these be completed with adequate funds from the Centre.

He said six pairs of kisan special trains have been run in West Bengal so far to provide higher benefits to the farmers by transporting their produce from the far-flung areas.

Goyal said in the last six years, Rs 19,811 crores have been invested in West Bengal for railway infrastructure development and another Rs 710 crores were spent for passenger amenities in the state.

The minister said that by December 2023, 100 per cent electrification of all railway lines in West Bengal will be completed, holding that apart from reducing pollution, it will increase speed of trains and ensure better services.

The minister dedicated to the nation the newly electrified 34-km Manigram-Nimtita section by flagging off a goods train and inaugurated road under bridges and foot over bridges in Howrah and Malda divisions of Eastern Railway. PTI AMR SNS SNS