Closure of routes: TMC demands withdrawal of railway letter
Kolkata: Trinamool Congress Secretary General Partha Chatterjee on Saturday threatened to hit the streets if the Centre does not withdraw its proposal to shut down train services in as many as eight routes in the state.
Chatterjee said if the proposal that has been sent to the state government by the Railways is not withdrawn within January 31, his party would organise a nationwide movement to protest the Centre's anti-people move. Talking to reporters on Saturday, he said that his party MPs, leaders, the state ministers will take out rallies in different parts of the state and also outside protesting against the directive that will badly affect the masses. "The Centre's proposal is aimed to hurt the sentiments of the people here in Bengal. It has sent the proposal for political vendetta. The Centre has deprived the people here in several ways. We have decided to hit the streets, organise rallies if the proposal is not withdrawn," Chatterjee said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday lashed out at the proposal to close down train services in eight routes claiming them to be commercially unviable. It may be mentioned that Eastern Railway had written to state Chief Secretary Malay De that they are incurring losses in these routes and the state government should share the burden of loss borne by the ER. The routes where the Railways are proposing to stall services include Sonarpur–Canning, Baruipur-Namkhana, Kalyani-Kalyani Simanta, Burdwan-Katwa, Bhimgarh-Palashkhali, Burdwan-Katwa, Ballygunge Budge Budge, Barasat-Hasnabad and Santipur–Nabadwipghat.
After receiving the proposal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters: "This is again a step-motherly attitude from the Centre. It is humiliating for our state. We will not tolerate this attitude of the Centre." She also termed this to be a political vendetta. It can be said here that the train services on these routes were started when Banerjee was the Union Railways minister. "We have to pay around Rs 50 crore to the Centre as debt every year. Now, they are telling us that we have to bear the loss to the tune of 50 percent of the entire loss amount. We will strongly oppose this," she added.
The Railways have sought an early reply from the state government in this regard.