Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday flagged off four major railway projects in West Bengal including the extension of the Metro Rail from Noapara to Dakshineswar which has now reduced the travel time for the 4.1 km distance between the two destinations from 1.5 hours to a mere 35 minutes.
The PM is visiting the state for the second time this month ahead of the assembly elections.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Hooghly, the Prime Minister said that in all these railway projects the “Made in India” stamp was very evident as the railway lines, coaches and technology used was Indian. This was a shining example of how the Aatamnirbhar campaign had led to a cutting down in the travel time and improved connectivity which would spur economic growth in the state, he added.
This 4.1 km extension has been constructed at a cost of Rs 464 crore, fully funded by the Central government. The Prime minister said that with these projects going on stream distances that used to take hours can now be covered in minutes. The metro rail project would speed up mobility for school and college students, office goers as well as lakhs of devotees who visit the two world-famous Kali Temples at Kalighat and Dakshineswar.
Prime Minister also inaugurated the third line between Kalaikunda and Jhargram over a stretch of 30 km of the 132 km long Kharagpur-Adityapur Third Line Project of South Eastern Railway, which was sanctioned with an estimated cost of Rs. 1,312 crores.
He dedicated to the nation the doubling of Azimganj to Khargraghat Road section, which is a part of Howrah – Bandel – Azimganj section of Eastern Railway, which has been laid at a project cost of Rs 240 crore.
The fourth line between Dankuni and Baruipara (11.28 kms) of Howrah – Bardhaman Chord Line and the third line between Rasulpur and Magra (42.42 kms) of Howrah – Bardhaman Main Line, which serves as principal gateway of Kolkata was also thrown open by the Prime Minister.
Bengal as regional economic hub
The Prime Minister said the four projects represented the government’s Aatamnirbhar push to improve railway connectivity across West Bengal right up to Sikkim and Bangladesh, He said this had paved the way for the state to become an economic hub in the region connecting the North-eastern parts of the country and neighbouring countries as well.
He said that his government was tirelessly working to remove the bottlenecks in the development of the state that were a legacy of the earlier governments.
Attacks Mamata government
Earlier addressing a public rally, the Prime Minister said the BJP will work for a Sonar Bangla that will strengthen the history and culture of Bengal. We will build a Bengal where religion and ability will be respected. We will build a Bengal where everyone is developed."
PM Modi said that the formation of a BJP government in West Bengal isn't merely for a change in power, but for 'Ashol Poriborton'.
"Our youth is living with the hope of this 'Ashol Poriborton' (real transformation), and thus, we need to form the BJP government in Bengal," PM Modi said.
Accusing chief minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government of siphoning funds provided for cyclone relief, PM Modi said, "The Central government has provided Rs 1,700 crore for relief work after Amphan to the TMC government in Bengal. The state government has only spent Rs 609 crore. The leftover Rs 1,100 crore has been siphoned off by TMC,” he added.
Training guns at the Mamata Banerjee-led government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that lakhs of needy people in Bengal have not been able to receive free treatment worth Rs 5 lakh under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. “This is the kind of hurdle Mamata Ji’s government has formed between people of Bengal and development,” he said.