Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday wrote to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal seeking his intervention in the early execution of the Eastern Dedicated Feright Corridor (EDFC) passing through West Bengal.
Expressing concern over the "dilly dally" by the Railways in the project, Banerjee pointed out that though her government has acquired land for it the Centre is yet to decide any specific step in executing it.
"Since the World Bank is funding this project substantially, I am sure that public execution and public funding of this prestigious EDFC project in Eastern India will not be a problem at all if you kindly intervene," Banerjee said.
She said that the EDFC stretches from Ludhiana to Mughalsarai covering a distance of about 1,192 km. From Mughalsarai it is scheduled to have a second eastward LEG OF 126 km to Sonnagar in Bihar.
"However, strangely the fate of the further eastward stretch from Sonnagar to Dankuni (in West Bengal) having a distance of about 538 km is yet uncertain," her letter said.
Indian Railways has taken the West Bengal government's help for acquisition of land for the project. The state government has already acquired 70 per cent of land required and handed over about 60 per cent land needed for the EDFC stretch, Banerjee, herself a former railways minister, said.
"But while the first two legs, and indeed the overwhelmingly major portions of the EDFC are being executed by the Indian Railways in direct public-government mode, the third stretch in West Bengal is appartently expected to be executed in public-private partnership model! Much of the land has been acquired by us, but the government of India has not yet decided a precise course of execution of EDFC in this Sonnagar-Dankuni phase," she said.
Calling it a "critical infrastructure policy gap", Banerjee said "I would therefore urge you to kindly intervene to address the strategic policy gap affecting the future of the EDFC in West Bengal so that the project could come eastward to Kolkata, and the acquisition of land for this project in the state is done justice (sic)".
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