Mamata budgets for polls at home, showers goodies

Written by fe Bureau | Kolkata | Updated: Feb 27 2011, 04:20am hrs
From Singur to Siliguri, Mamata Banerjee has budgeted for the coming West Bengal elections in her rail Budget, promising coach factories, announcing new trains, a software excellence centre in Darjeeling, an industrial park at Nandigram and so forth.

But those following her announcements in the state in 2010 will know that she has already launched at least 12 projects, many of which are yet to take off. In the past six months, she announced 30 new trains in the state.

Keeping in mind her partys weak base in North Bengal, she announced several new trains connecting New Jalpaiguri. She also proposed a software centre in Darjeeling and a rail industrial park at Jellingahm near Nandigram. Her party had launched a movement in Nandigram after the state government proposed to construct a chemical hub in the region. Earlier, she had proposed a rail coach factory at Singur. During her Budget speech, Banerjee said though the state government is yet to hand over land to the ministry, she will look at setting up a metro coach factory at Singur or adjacent Polba.

She has also proposed setting up of Kolkata Rail Vikas Corporation (KRVC) on the lines of Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation. Amidst criticism that the projects declared in earlier budgets are running behind schedule, Banerjee said the ministry was already executing the works.

She said the railways would order more wagons from Burn Standard and Braithwaite, the public sector utilities now under the railways. Although Burn Standard MD D Marandi did not want to comment of the Budget, officials said the order book as on January 2011 was worth R215 crore.

But for handling further orders, they pointed out Burnpur and Howrah facilities needed to be modernised and that no funds had been provisioned for them.