Railway Ministry verify options to hand over Kolkata Metro to Ministry of Urban Development

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): The railway ministry is considering handing over of the Kolkata Metro railway project to the Urban Development Ministry, which is in charge of all the other metro rail projects in the country.

While the shift has not yet been finalised, the proposal has been discussed among the ministries concerned – railways and urban development, according to top government sources.

Kolkata Metro is the country’s first metro rail project that came up about two decades ago, under the Railway Ministry. At present, Kolkata metro is the only metro railway project that comes under the railway ministry while the rest have come up under the urban development ministry.

The second phase of Kolkata metro, which came up much later, has three stakeholders in which the railways is a one-third stake-holder while the urban development ministry and state government are the two others.

In terms of functioning, it makes it easier for the Centre as well as the state concerned to handle the metro rail project under the urban development ministry, say experts.

When railway minister Sadanand Gowda left out any reference to the Kolkata metro rail project, which is crying for immediate upgradation and maintenance, during his budget speech on Tuesday, MPs from West Bengal, mainly from Trinamool Congress, protested demanding to know what the minister was planning for the oldest metro network. Gowda refused to reply on the issue.

Later, it was learnt from government sources that since there were plans afoot to hand over the project to the UD ministry, the concerns of the Kolkata metro would be taken up later.

Sources said the railway ministry is finding it difficult to handle certain issues that have more to do with urban development than the railways.