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Centre fails to invite Mamata at East-West Metro inauguration

Centre fails to invite Mamata at   East-West Metro inauguration

Kolkata: The Kolkata East-West Metro, which was the brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her tenure as the Railway Minister saw the light of the day with the first phase being inaugurated on Thursday. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Union Minister Babul Supriyo flagged off the new metro corridor connecting Sector-V with Salt Lake Stadium.

"The full stretch of 16.5 km long East-West Metro starting from Salt Lake Sector V to Howrah Maidan is expected to be operational within two years. Phoolbagan Metro Station will be operational before Durga Puja this year," said Goyal, who also took a ride along with Supriyo from Salt Lake Sector V to City Centre on the first metro.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her tenure as the Railway Minister from 2009-2011 had sanctioned money for the project in the Railway budget. However, she was not invited for the inauguration ceremony held at Salt Lake Sector-V metro station.

Except for Banerjee, names of state minister for Fire and Emergency Services Sujit Bose, Lok Sabha MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Bidhannagar Mayor Krishna Chakraborty were mentioned in the invitation card for the inauguration of the first phase of East West Metro.

Railway officials, however, have declined to comment on the matter.

Without mentioning the effort of Banerjee, the Railway minister praised BJP leader Babul Supriyo.

"This is a great achievement. I give you (Surpriyo- minister of state for Environment, Forest and Climate Change) the responsibility to keep track on the ongoing East-West Metro project. The budget for the Kolkata East-West Metro project is Rs 6,500 crore. 74 per cent of the money has been sanctioned by Indian Railways and 26 per cent is being allotted from the Urban Development Ministry," pointed out Goyal.

The first phase of East-West Metro project includes Salt Lake Sector-V station, Karunamoyee, Central Park, City Centre, Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake Stadium stations. The city's beloved rapid transit system was in news since its inception that faced many hurdles over the last 12 years.

"From 2012 to 2015, the construction work of East-West Metro was stopped for land acquisition, encroachment and other issues. I dedicate the first phase of East-West Metro to Sarojini Naidu, the Nightingale of India," said the Railway minister.

The metro services will be open to the public from February 14. The fare structure will be Rs 5 for 0-2 km and Rs 10 for 2-5 kilometres. The trains will run at an interval of 20 minutes. There will be 37 pairs of trains running between Salt Lake Sector-V and Salt Lake Stadium.

The Kolkata Metro was the first metro railway in India, that opened for commercial services from 1984.

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