West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she was disappointed after not being invited to the inauguration of the East-West Metro corridor in Kolkata, and pointed out that her team had worked very hard on the project during her time as railway minister, reported PTI. The chief minister made the comments a day after the first phase of the Metro corridor was unveiled by Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal.
“We had worked hard for the East-West Metro project,” Banerjee said in the state Assembly. “We had to literally shed tears for it [approval]. I felt bad as I was not even informed about the inauguration.”
Banerjee has twice served as the Union railway minister – first, from 1999 to 2001 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government, and then in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government from 2009 to 2011.
Several leaders of Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress party were invited to the inauguration event, but they skipped it after her name did not feature in the list of invitees. State Fire Services Minister Sujit Bose, Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, and Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation Chairperson Krishna Chakraborty were among the leaders invited.
The first phase of the corridor links a 4.88-km stretch between Sector Five of the city’s Salt Lake neighbourhood, and Salt Lake Stadium. At the inauguration, Goyal said the entire 16.5-km corridor was expected to be completed in two years if “bottlenecks affecting it are cleared through local support”, reported Hindustan Times.
Goyal claimed that work on the project began in 2009 but it was delayed from 2012 to 2015 “on the pretext of route realignment” – an indirect criticism of the ruling Trinamool Congress. He said the project’s postponement also increased its cost. The minister pointed out that Rs 6,500 crore had been spent on metro corridor so far.
The work on the rest of the project, which was expected to be completed by June 2021, had been halted last year after a tunnel-boring machine hit an aquifer under the city’s Bowbazar locality on August 31. Hundreds of residents were rendered homeless after the accident that damaged several buildings. On Tuesday, the Calcutta High Court allowed Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation to resume work, The Telegraph reported. “KMRC should make arrangements so that experts from IIT Madras can inspect the construction area once in a fortnight,” the bench added. “KMRC can continue work only after the approval from the experts.”