Bengal inability to share 50% laying tracks cost at Jhargram route
RAILWAYS & METRO RAIL

Bengal inability to share 50% laying tracks cost at Jhargram route

The fate of the proposed Bhadutala-Jhargram rail route through Lalgarh, which was supposed to join hundreds of remote tribal hamlets that were once Maoist hotbeds, hangs in the balance as the Bengal government has expressed its inability to shoulder 50% of the expense of laying tracks.

The railway tracks linking Bhadutala in West Midnapore to Jhargram through Lalgarh had come up in the recently held meeting of the standing committee of the Eastern Zonal Council, where the ministry of home affairs representatives talked about several problems connected to eastern states including Bengal.

The Bengal government made it clear that it would not be possible for them to share the track laying cost. It has asked the ministry of railways to finish the project with its resources, but the Centre remains non-committal, at least for the time being, a senior state government official told the media.

The proposal to lay 54.5 km of tracks was first mooted in the railway budget of 2011-12, as per the agenda papers prepared for the meeting.

The agenda papers of the meeting state that the project cost, which was Rs 289.54 crore at that time, was to be shared by the Bengal government and the Indian Railways.

With the state government expressing its inability, the rail ministry was requested by the standing committee of the Eastern Zonal Council to consider the state government's request.

Sources said that the railways pointed out during the meeting that the then Planning Commission had given in-principle approval subject to a condition that the state government would share 50% of the project cost.

The state government has not answered the request for cost-sharing. Therefore, the track laying project could not be approved.

Senior Bengal government officials said that the state expressed its inability to share the cost of the project only because of the struggling exchequer.

The state is spending over Rs 35,000 crore a year to operate several welfare schemes. Moreover, the Central government owes the Bengal government a handsome amount. This is the reason why the ministry of railways was requested to finish the project from its resources, said a senior official.

The proposed railway tracks are supposed to join several tribal villages, which would give momentum to the economy of the areas. The state government has brought the Maoist problem under control, and now the Centre should come forward to assure that the issue never recurs. Rail connectivity in the area will transform the landscape of this otherwise inaccessible area, said an official.

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Also read: Railways to install 65k display screens at 2k stations under RDN

The fate of the proposed Bhadutala-Jhargram rail route through Lalgarh, which was supposed to join hundreds of remote tribal hamlets that were once Maoist hotbeds, hangs in the balance as the Bengal government has expressed its inability to shoulder 50% of the expense of laying tracks. The railway tracks linking Bhadutala in West Midnapore to Jhargram through Lalgarh had come up in the recently held meeting of the standing committee of the Eastern Zonal Council, where the ministry of home affairs representatives talked about several problems connected to eastern states including Bengal. The Bengal government made it clear that it would not be possible for them to share the track laying cost. It has asked the ministry of railways to finish the project with its resources, but the Centre remains non-committal, at least for the time being, a senior state government official told the media. The proposal to lay 54.5 km of tracks was first mooted in the railway budget of 2011-12, as per the agenda papers prepared for the meeting. The agenda papers of the meeting state that the project cost, which was Rs 289.54 crore at that time, was to be shared by the Bengal government and the Indian Railways. With the state government expressing its inability, the rail ministry was requested by the standing committee of the Eastern Zonal Council to consider the state government's request. Sources said that the railways pointed out during the meeting that the then Planning Commission had given in-principle approval subject to a condition that the state government would share 50% of the project cost. The state government has not answered the request for cost-sharing. Therefore, the track laying project could not be approved. Senior Bengal government officials said that the state expressed its inability to share the cost of the project only because of the struggling exchequer. The state is spending over Rs 35,000 crore a year to operate several welfare schemes. Moreover, the Central government owes the Bengal government a handsome amount. This is the reason why the ministry of railways was requested to finish the project from its resources, said a senior official. The proposed railway tracks are supposed to join several tribal villages, which would give momentum to the economy of the areas. The state government has brought the Maoist problem under control, and now the Centre should come forward to assure that the issue never recurs. Rail connectivity in the area will transform the landscape of this otherwise inaccessible area, said an official. Image Source Also read: Railways to install 65k display screens at 2k stations under RDN

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