Tribune News Service
Kolkata, December 3
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked the Railways to return Rs 34 crore it had taken from state government on account of a new flyover in Kolkata dedicated to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Banerjee said this at the inauguration of the new cable bridge constructed in the place of the old Majerhat Bridge that had collapsed in September 2018 killing three people.
The new 650-meter long flyover having four lanes has been named “Jai Hind Bridge” by Banerjee. She chose the name as a tribute to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose whose 125th birth anniversary will be celebrated in 2022.
Banerjee, who was railway minister on two occasions, said the Railways as a rule try to help people at the time of a crisis and run special trains. But it made an exception in the case of Jai Hind Bridge. Since railway tracks ran below the flyover, the state government had to give Rs 34 crore to them, the Chief Minister said.
“I am asking the Railways that who gave them the direction to take the money from us. It should be returned. So many schools and colleges could be built with the money”, Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister also accused the Railways of holding back permission resulting into nine months delay in throwing open the bridge to public. “I am not blaming the officers or the engineers of Railways. I am angry with the leaders who are pulling the strings sitting in Delhi”, Mamata said.
The Chief Minister also attacked the BJP for holding a demonstration on the bridge on November 26 demanding its early completion.
“Those leading the demonstration were begging the police to arrest them even though the police were not interested”, Mamata remarked.
The Chief Minister also criticised the Kolkata Port Trust (under the Ministry of Shipping) for forking out Rs 77 lakh from state government for facilitating the work of construction of the new bridge.
The new flyover had cost Rs 311.76 crore and the expense was entirely borne by state government, Banerjee said. While the previous bridge could support weight of up to 155 MT, the new bridge was having the capacity of 385 MT, she said.
Three more flyovers – one from Ganesh Chandra Avenue to New Market, another from Taratala to Jadavpur Phari and yet another from Park Circus to Ballygunge Phari – were in the pipeline for Kolkata, the CM said.
The network of metro rail and flyover would cover the metropolis in such a manner that transportation would become a smooth and easy affair, the Chief Minister said.