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8 Bengal routes need to be shut over losses: Railways

CM accuses Centre of using strong-arm tactics to deprive Bengal

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
January 20, 2018 6:56:37 am
Picture for representational purpose

Citing losses, the Railways has decided to stop train services in eight routes in the state, leading Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday to accuse the Centre of using “strong-arm tactics” to “deprive Bengal”. Mamata’s reaction comes in the wake of the chief commercial manager of Eastern Railway, writing to state Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De, stating that train services in eight routes needed to be terminated as they were incurring losses. The letter — received on Friday by the chief secretary — said the services either needed to be stopped or the state government should bear half of the losses incurred.

The Eastern Railway, in a statement, said the letter was sent on the basis of the report of Public Account Committee as an Action Taken Report. It added that such letters are sent to other state governments as well and that Eastern Railway has no such intention of closure of any route. This decision can only be taken by the Ministry of Railways and not by the Eastern Railway, the statement said.

Speaking to mediapersons at state secretariat Nabanna, Mamata said: “How can this happen? How can they do this without even consulting the state government? These are socially-viable projects. Railways have a social responsibility. The Centre is using strong-arm tactics against Bengal. It is depriving Bengal.”

Alleging that the Centre is dictating terms by force, she added: “I will not allow such deprivation of Bengal by the central government.” Referring to the loss-sharing theory, Mamata said the Centre was already taking a lot of money in terms of taxes and cess. “Why are they asking for more money? Besides, they are also taking Rs 50,000 crore every year as repayment of loans taken by the previous government,” she added.

As per the letter, the eight train routes are — Burdwan-Katwa, Sonarpur-Canning, Santipur-Nabadwipghat, Barasat-Hasnabad, Baruipur-Namkhana, Ballygunj-Budge Budge, Kalyani Simanta-Sealdah and Bhimgarh-Palastali.

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