Af­ter FDI, Ma­mata tries to put brakes on faster trains

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - NATION - Saub­hadra Chat­terji

NEW DELHI: West Ben­gal chief min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee had tried her best to re­strict other states from get­ting for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment (FDI) in multi-brand re­tail through her op­po­si­tion to the cen­tre’s pol­icy. Now, the Tri­namool chief is try­ing to put a stop to rail­way’s pro­posal to in­crease speed of trains on two key in­ter-state routes.

The rail­way is keen to re­store the max­i­mum train-speed of 110 kmph in Kharag­purRourkela and Kharag­pur-Adra routes from the cur­rent limit of 70 kmph that was im­posed af­ter the fa­tal blast in Jnaneswari Ex­press in 2010. The stretches fall in Maoistaf­fected ar­eas.

While Odisha and Jhark­hand government are keen to see faster train ser­vice Ban­er­jee’s government has not re­sponded to the rail­way min- istry’s pro­posal.

If trains are al­lowed to run at the speed of 110 kmph, jour­ney be­tween east­ern In­dia and cities like Mum­bai or Nag­pur and Odisha and north­ern cities would be less time-con­sum­ing.

“The routes get clogged and trains get de­layed for al­most 12 hours, be­sides there is the fuel losses,” min­is­ter of state for rail­ways Ad­hir Chowd­hury told Hin­dus­tan Times.

“We had in­vited the West Ben­gal po­lice DG for talks in Kolkata. For past one year the cor­ri­dors have re­mained in­ci­dent-free and rail­way feels that trains can run on higher speed. But shock­ingly, West Ben­gal po­lice skipped the meet­ing,” Chowd­hury added.

As main­tain­ing the law and or­der sit­u­a­tion is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the state government, the rail­ways need their ap­proval for in­creas­ing speed in Maoistaf­fected ar­eas.

Ban­er­jee was the rail­way min­is­ter when Maoists blew up Jnaneswari Ex­press killing 148 pas­sen­gers. The speed limit was im­posed dur­ing her ten­ure.

On the FDI is­sue, Ban­er­jee had re­fused to pay heed to the Cen­tre’s pol­icy al­low­ing each state government to de­cide on al­low­ing FDI in multi-brand re­tail and tried to top­ple the government by bring­ing a no­con­fi­dence mo­tion in par­lia­ment. The mo­tion, how­ever, failed to get ad­mit­ted.

Ma­mata Ban­er­jee

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