Metro rail delays: Minister hints at tardy response by Bengal Government

Kolkata, May 21:  Union Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Tuesday hinted at lack of cooperation from the West Bengal Government in completing a slew of metro rail projects in Kolkata worth nearly Rs 17,000 crore.  According to Chowdhury, the Railways has been finding it difficult to carry out the metro extension projects mainly due to land acquisition hurdles.  “We are trying to have more metro connectivity like Garia to Airport, Joka to BBD Bag. But, there are challenges pertaining to land acquisition, obtaining approvals from various government institutions,” Chowdhury said here. He was speaking at the inauguration of Tapan Sinha Memorial Hospital, to be run by Metro Railway, Kolkata.
Five projects
Currently, five key metro rail projects – executed by Metro Railway, Kolkata, an arm of Indian Railways – worth more than Rs 12,000 crore have hit land acquisition hurdles in Kolkata.  Meanwhile, a Rs 5,000-crore (15 km) East-West metro corridor – executed jointly by the Railways and Union Urban Development Ministry – is stuck midway due to Bengal Government’s insistence on a realignment of the original route.  Citing examples of State Governments’ participation in urban rail transportation facilities, Chowdhury pointed out that upcoming metro projects in cities such as Cochin and Jaipur are developed by the respective State Governments.  Making his displeasure clear over State Government’s non-cooperation, the minister said: “We will take the metro projects forward, despite thousand hurdles.”