State deprived of funds, many Rail projects shelved: TMC
Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Sunday lashed out at the BJP over its assertion that it had allocated the highest-ever funds for railway works in West Bengal, and claimed that the state has been deprived of funds for years and multiple rail projects shelved.
After the Union Budget was announced, Railway minister Piyush Goyal had claimed that the allocation of Rs 6,636 crore to poll-bound Bengal is the highest-ever funds earmarked for the state in the history of Indian Railways.
Demolishing such claims, TMC alleged that the Centre had exhibited a step-motherly attitude towards the state and BJP-ruled states got maximum benefits from the rail projects.
TMC leader, Shashi Panja—who is the minister of State
for Women and Child Welfare in Bengal— said over one dozen rail factories across Bengal, initiated by Mamata Banerjee during her term as the minister of Railways, received token financial allocation this year.
"The new rail coach manufacturing unit at Kanchrapara has been allocated Rs 74 lakh in the last budget. This year, the allocation is only Rs 1,000," she said. She highlighted
that in Budget 2020 the Centre had shelved 20 new connectivity ventures and 10 upgradation projects launched by Banerjee, especially in rural Bengal.
"It is shocking that several projects in Bengal like Digha-Jaleshwar, Kaliaganj-Buniadpur, Irfala-Ghatal , Arambagh-Champadanga, Bishnupur- Uparsole, Mayanapur-Kamarpukur had been allocated Rs 1000 crore only. The Prime Minister says he is a follower of Sri Ramkrishna, but his government allocated only Rs 1000 for the extension of the railway line connecting Tarakeshwar with Jairambati, the birthplace of Ma Sarada,"she maintained.
She highlighted that in Budget 2019 the Sealdah Coach Repair Factory was allocated only Rs 1000. The same happened with the Rail Museum in Bolpur and the coach washing workshop in Howrah, to name a few.
Panja accused the saffron party of focusing on states only during the election year. "From 2016-17 to 2020-21, no new lines in Railways were announced in South-Eastern Railways, let alone Bengal. In 2020-21, four new projects were announced for SER but all of them went to Odisha and not Bengal," she said .
She further cited the example of the East West Metro
corridor to substantiate her claims. It was Banerjee, who had inaugurated the project while she was the Railway minister. "The BJP government has allocated funds very slowly for it since 2014. Kolkata Metro received an outlay of Rs 850 crore for 2019-20, which came down to Rs 750 crore in 2020-21. Come election year and this outlay is Rs 1330 crore, " she added.
Pointing out that BJP-ruled states like Gujarat are benefitting at the expense of rest of India, TMC MP and national spokesperson Derek O'Brien took to his twitter handle and said Rs 8000 crore investment had been announced for high speed train in Gujarat and Rs 200 crore for broad gauge like Surendranagar- Rajkot in Budget 2021-22. The Rajya Sabha MP posted documents to substantiate his claim on his twitter page.