Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya addresses mediapersons in Kolkata on Friday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in 150th anniversary celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) and dedicate four heritage buildings of the state capital to the nation during his two-day visit to Kolkata, which starts from Saturday.
Union Minister of State for Shipping with independent charge Mansukh L Mandaviya on Friday said the PM will hand over a cheque of Rs 501 crore towards the final installment to meet the deficit in the pension funds of retired and existing employees of the Kolkata Port Trust during an event at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
“On Saturday, he will dedicate four heritage buildings of Kolkata at an event at Old Currency Building. After that he will visit Millennium Park from where he will inaugurate a light-and-sound show at Howrah Bridge. On Sunday, he will attend the 150th anniversary celebration programme at Netaji Indoor Stadium,” said Mandaviya.
The PM is scheduled to visit Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, from Millennium Park through a vessel on river Hooghly.
The four structures, which will be dedicated are the Old Currency Building, the Belvedere House, the Metcalfe House and the Victoria Memorial Hall.
At Netaji Indoor Stadium on Sunday, the prime minister will also felicitate the two oldest pensioners of the Kolkata Port Trust - 105-year-old Nagina Bhagat and 100-year-old Naresh Chandra Chakraborty. He will also launch the Port anthem during the event.
“A plaque of 150 years of commemorative installation at the site of the original Port jetties will be unveiled by the PM. The upgraded ship repair facility of the Cochin-Kolkata Ship Repair Unit at Netaji Subhas Dry Dock will be inaugurated by PM Modi during this visit. He will also inaugurate the full rake handling facility and dedicate the upgraded railway infrastructure of Kolkata Dock System of KoPT for the smooth cargo movement and improving turnaround time,” said the minister.
A mechanisation of berth No. 3 at the Haldia Dock Complex of KoPT and a proposed riverfront development scheme will also be launched by Modi from same event Sunday. He is scheduled to return to Delhi Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, a day before the PM’s visit, a controversy erupted after the ticket counter office of the Millennium Park, located on the Strand Road and which overlooks the Howrah bridge, was painted saffron on Thursday.
After questions were raised, the counter was seen painted blue and white on Friday morning, reportedly the preferred colour of the state government in West Bengal. The Kolkata Port Trust is the custodian of the park and has not come out with a statement on the issue. Both TMC and the BJP did not react on the development.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Bengal BJP is likely to meet Modi on Saturday evening at Raj Bhawan where he is scheduled to spend the night. According to a senior BJP leader, the party is likely to apprise the PM of the deteriorating law and order situation in Bengal.
Security stepped up ahead of Modi visit
The West Bengal government has planned a foolproof security arrangements to counter any untoward incident during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the city from Saturday.
The move comes after the Left parties and various organisations have announced their decision to stage protests across the city and raise ‘go back’ slogan against him.
Sources in the state government said after receiving Intelligence Branch report that three organisations are planning large-scale gatherings at the airport and on the roads and also show black flags to the PM, the administration has planned to sanitise the route, which will be taken by the prime minister’s convoy to reach the city from the airport.
According to a state government officer, the roadmap was planned considering the fact that the PM is scheduled to arrive at a time when the light will not be favourable to fly him to the city in a helicopter from the airport.
“Adequate security arrangements will be made for the PM’s scheduled visit to the city. There will be barricades along the roads from the airport to the city. An extra security cover will be put in place alongside roads to keep a check on protesters,” the official said.