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Highest ever allocation for West Bengal in rail budget; non-availability of land delaying projects: Piyush Goyal

West Bengal has 53 ongoing projects including new lines, gauge conversion, doubling projects costing Rs 48,275 crore for 4,463 km.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: February 5, 2021 1:05:21 pm
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

With an allocation of Rs 6,633 crore, rail projects in poll-bound West Bengal have got the highest-ever outlay in any Budget, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said Thursday.

West Bengal has 53 ongoing projects including new lines, gauge conversion, doubling projects costing Rs 48,275 crore for 4,463 km.

“The allocation for West Bengal is the highest ever in the history of Indian Railways. It is 2.5 times the average amount allocated between Budget 2009-2014 and 26 per cent more than last year,” Goyal told reporters during a press conference. The Railway minister blamed the successive state governments for “delay” in railway projects.

“Projects there remain incomplete or are delayed because the state governments—first it was the Left front government and now the TMC—have been unable to provide land to us. Projects which are 45 year old are pending in the state,” he said.

The West Bengal Assembly election is expected to be a bitterly fought battle between the BJP and Mamata Banerjee’s ruling Trinamool Congress, with the former making a strong bid to overthrow the latter.

“I appeal to Mamatadidi to expedite the process and give us land,” Goyal said, adding that due to the non-availability of land as many as 34 projects in the state have received only token allotment in the budget 2021-22.

Goyal said that there was no shortage of funds for West Bengal. “I want to assure the people of West Bengal that there is no shortage of funds for projects in the state. Only there should not be any shortage of funds and if local issues are sorted,” he said.

Goyal further took a dig at pre-BJP budgets where the Railway Budget was separate and said that at that time there was a tendency to announce rail projects for political gains and not for the need of the people.

“Once someone became a minister, he would announce projects without first checking if there were funds available, if land was available and if the project was feasible. That is the reason why none of the projects which were announced then could be completed and there would be major cost overruns. So, inspired by politics this harmed the railways,” he said.

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