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No local routes to be closed: Rao

KOLKATA: Giving respite to thousands of daily commuters, the Railway authorities have ruled out the possibility of cancellation of train services on any local route.
"No local routes are going to be closed," Harindra Rao, General Manager of the Eastern Railway said while speaking at a Press meet on the Railways part of Union Budget 2018-19.
It may be recalled that in January, locals had put up a blockade at Basirhat station in Sealdah-Hasnabad section protesting against the Centre's proposal of bringing an end to the train services on eight routes in Bengal and the routes include Sonarpur – Canning, Baruipur- Namkhana, Kalyani-Kalyani Simanta, Burdwan-Katwa, Bhimgarh-Palashkhali, Burdwan-Katwa, Ballygunge Budge Budge , Barasat-Hasnabad and Santipur –Nabadwipghat. It had also led to controversy and even Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gave a sharp reaction on the issue. She had claimed it to be a step-motherly attitude of the Centre.
Partha Chatterjee, Secretary General of Trinamool Congress threatened to hold a movement if the proposal of shutting down train services was not withdrawn.
Meanwhile, speaking on the Budget, Rao said this is a budget with a major focus on safety, infrastructure development and passenger amenities.
He said: "The plan head sanction for Eastern Railway has gone up in 2018-19 by Rs 125 crore. At the same time, the working expenses have also been increased by Rs 645 crore. Moreover, the target of earning has also been increase by Rs 623 crore." He further said Rs 579.49 crore has been sanctioned for important projects in the Budget 2018-19 for passenger amenities work.
The Kolkata Station will be developed into an international one. A new terminal will come up adjacent to the existing one and both will be merged by carrying out the necessary infrastructure development.
While speaking about the land issues, Rao said it has been decided that from now on new projects will be started only after getting the entire land required for it.
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