East-West Metro: PMO intervenes
4 October 2010
statesman news service
KOLKATA, 4 OCT: The Prime Minister’s Office has intervened to resolve the stalemate over the East-West Metro Corridor project after the chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, complained to Dr Manmohan Singh that “non-cooperation by another Central government ministry” has jeopardised the joint venture between the state and Centre.
On 6 October, the principal secretary of the Prime Minister will hold a luncheon meeting to create an atmosphere of bonhomie between officials of the state government and Railways.
On 15 September the chief minister had written a candid letter to the Prime Minister blaming the railway minister, Miss Mamata Banerjee, guardedly for jeopardising the project. Mr Bhattacharjee said that after the Parliamentary elections the project had been facing major hurdles due to “complete non-cooperation by the ministry of Railways.” In fact, he pointed out that since the polls the officials of the Railway ministry have stopped attending the board meetings and other important meetings for this project, indication much of the non-cooperation stemmed from political reasons.
He said: “This complete non-cooperation on the part of the Railways has created a situation in which, I am afraid, completion of the project would suffer avoidable delay and escalation of cost.” Mr Bhattacharjee said the Railways has so far refused to give clearance for initiating construction work for underground stations at Howrah and Sealdah.
The chief minister ended by saying: "I think at this stage only your personal intervention can save the project. Our government will accept any decision that you would like to take in respect to this project.” The state government is in dire straits over the project since any escalation of the project cost will have to be borne by the state government although both Japan and the Centre have also funded the project.