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Mamata inaugurates work on 1806-km eastern freight corridor

Raktima Bose



NEW VISTAS: Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee at the inauguration of work for a dedicated freight corridor at Dankuni in Hooghly District of West Bengal on Tuesday.

DANKUNI (HOOGHLY DISTRICT): Once completed, the eastern dedicated freight corridor will bring about an “industrial revolution” in West Bengal, Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Tuesday at the inauguration of the work on the project.

The 1806-km eastern corridor will extend from Dankuni to Ludhiana and pass through several mining and industrial towns such as Asansol, Dhanbad, Sonnagar, Khurja and Saharanpur. It is being designed for a maximum train speed of 100 kmph.

Dankuni as key point

Addressing the function that was attended by representatives from various apex industrial bodies and chambers of commerce in the State, Ms. Banerjee said: “In future, an industrial revolution will gain momentum in places through which the corridor will pass and Dankuni will serve as a key point.”

She added that a new freight terminal will be set up here and expressed the hope that the region will turn into an automobile and ancillary hub within two years and provide employment to the local youth.

Incidentally, Dankuni is located within 50 km of Singur — where Ms. Banerjee's party Trinamool Congress had started a movement against alleged forcible land acquisition by the State government for setting up the Tata Motors' small car factory.

The project was finally withdrawn from the State in 2008 in the face of the agitation led by the Trinamool Congress.

Ms. Banerjee appealed to the industrialists to invest in setting up of industries in the region as well as in other railway projects which were lying abandoned due to lack of funds for years.

“This does not mean that we are selling off our land as preached by our political detractors. The railways has formulated a policy in this regard according to which we will provide with land and plan while the industry will invest and will be given back their share from the revenue generated,” Ms. Banerjee said. She also said that the railway was open to public-private participation for implementing the corridor between Dankuni and Sonnagar.

Spare parts imported

Underscoring the fact that various spare parts for railway coaches have to be imported, Ms. Banerjee pointed out that the railways will set up more than 20 factories across the country for manufacturing railway equipment indigenously.

“I want to set up industries in the under-developed regions like Kalahandi in Orissa, Telangana, Jangal Mahal in West Bengal and Vidarbha in Maharashtra. But nowhere will land be acquired forcibly as the railways has its own land bank for the purpose,” she asserted.

On land required for the eastern and western freight corridors, Ms. Banerjee said that out of the 39,000 acres needed, 12,000 acres was being provided from the railway's land bank and another 2500 acres have been identified along existing alignment routes.

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