Rail link to tiger territory
A STAFF REPORTER
Canning, Nov. 14: Calcuttans keen to spot the tiger in the Sunderbans will not have to take a boat from Canning if Mamata Banerjee keeps her promise of getting a railway line laid up to Bhangankhali.
The railway minister today laid the foundation stone for the extension of the line from Canning, the last station on the way to the forests, to Bhangankhali 5km away. From Canning, people now take a boat across the Matla, over which a rail bridge will be built. “As soon as we get new rakes there will be more trains in this section,” Mamata said. “Soon, there will be a ladies’ special from Canning to Sealdah too.”
She said the Rs 124-crore project had been sanctioned, and that the railways planned to later extend the tracks till Gosaba, 40km from Canning.
“It takes two to three years to manufacture a rake in the coach factory. Once the new rakes are introduced, we will give more trains to this section,” Mamata told the thousands who turned out to hear her. The gathering turned so chaotic at one point that Mamata got off the dais to manage the crowd.
She also announced other railway links, including a line extension in the Lakshmikantapur-Namkhana section up to Gangasagar and a line from Namkhana to Bakkhali.
She said double lines would be laid between Canning and Ghutiari Sharif, between Dakshin Barasat and Lakshmikantapur, and from Diamond Harbour to Magrahat.
After last Sunday’s promise of industrialisation in North 24-Parganas, the railway minister today announced similar plans for South 24-Parganas.
“We will identify railway land and find out what kind of industries can be set up so that employment can be generated for the local youth,” she said.
Mamata asked railway officials to try and set up a Railway Protection Force training institute on a plot adjoining Canning station.
“The institute will help local people get jobs in the railways,” she said.
She asked the government to hand over a plot in Canning, where a stadium has been proposed.
“Years have passed but the work has not started. Ask Rezzak babu (land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah) if he will give the land to the railways. We will build a stadium in seven days.”
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