Kolkata: The Ministry of Railways has decided to shut down eight train services in West Bengal citing them as losses making routes and claiming it was not possible for them to continue unless the state government bears 50% of the cost.
The loss-making routes as mentioned by the Railways are - Sonarpur-Canning, Shantipur-Nabadwip Ghat, Barasat-Hasnabad, Kalyani-Kalyani Simanta, Ballygunge-Budge Budge, Baruipur-Namkhana, Bardhman-Katwa and Bhimghar-Palasthali.
In a letter dated January 17, 2018, the Chief Commercial Manager (Eastern Railways), SS Gehlot said, “The continued operation of commercially unviable lines, which is source of sustained loss being borne by Indian Railways on its own has been commented upon by the Public Account Committee (PAC) of Parliament in their 42nd report as well as through their 88th report on the action taken note submitted by the Ministry of Railways. PAC has strongly impressed upon the Ministry of Railways to seek the consent of state government’s so as to secure the closure of such loss-making lines.”
His letter further reads, “Accordingly my predecessor, vide his above referred D.O letter (copy enclosed for ready reference), had sought the state government’s consent for the closure of the line(s) referred to above. In case, however, these are to be retained in public interest, state government’s agreement was requested for sharing the burden of the loss of working lines at least in the 50:50 ration, with Eastern Railway. However, we are yet to receive the views of the state government on this issue. I would, therefore, request your personal intervention in examining our request expeditiously and communicate the state government’s decision in the matter.”
The Eastern Railway claimed that they had earlier informed the West Bengal government about the matter but did not receive any response.
State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed dismay over the letter and said, “They are trying to deprive the people of Bengal. We strongly oppose this move.”