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TMC Unveils 'Incomplete' Railway Bridge to Derail Piyush Goyal's Official Plan, Leaves BJP Fuming

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was to inaugurate the overbridge on September 30 but it was unveiled by TMC leader and state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee on Tuesday.

Sujit Nath | News18

Updated:September 25, 2019, 11:02 PM IST
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TMC Unveils 'Incomplete' Railway Bridge to Derail Piyush Goyal's Official Plan, Leaves BJP Fuming
The railway overbridge in West Bengal's Burdwan. (Twitter/@dilipghoshBJP)

Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP have once again locked horns, this time over the inauguration of a four-lane road overbridge (RoB) in West Bengal's Burdwan district.

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was scheduled to inaugurate the overbridge on September 30, but it was unveiled by TMC leader and state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee on Tuesday, a few days before its completion.

A group of local party leaders visited the site on Tuesday where Mukherjee cut a blue ribbon to inaugurate the structure that cost Rs 300 crore.

“The project was the brainchild of Mamata Banerjee when she was the Union railway minister. It was her dream for the people of Burdwan. Where is the problem in inaugurating it?" Mukherjee told News18. "I don’t see anything wrong in this as the state government also contributed 50% towards the total project cost.”

Mukherjee said he was unaware about the official inauguration ceremony by Goyal on September 30.

The Burdwan bridge is similar to the Howrah Bridge, where the entire structure rests only on two pillars. It is nearly eight feet above the railway tracks. The approval for the bridge was granted in 1993 but the project was put on hold due to some issues. However, in 2011, it got approval for further construction.

Condemning the move, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “The TMC is jealous that the BJP government at the Centre finished the pending for years. I find it hilarious that they are in a rat race to inaugurate an incomplete bridge. They hijacked the event to take credit.”

“It is actually quite ridiculous when state minister Subrata Mukherjee goes ahead and inaugurates the incomplete hanging railway bridge of Bardhaman just before the @RailMinIndia was scheduled to do so. Didi should resist the temptation of getting into this thoughtless rat race of ribbon cutting and focus on competing in terms of completed development projects. This only can put Paschim Banga on the true trajectory of progress and development,” Ghosh said on Twitter.

Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi called the move “unfortunate”.

“We live in a federal structure. The Bengal government should not have done this. We had invited them too. Piyush Goyal is in the US and I have been asked to go to inaugurate the bridge on September 27. For the interest of the people of Bengal, I request the Mamata government to not play politics on such issues of development," he said.

The Burdwan RoB was completed in 197 days without affecting traffic for even a day, officials said. Work on the 188.43-metre cable-stayed RoB started in 2012. Besides 1.5 metre-wide footpaths on both sides parallel to the lanes, it has 27.7 metres of width to accommodate vehicles on four lanes.

The planning, official processes and implementation of the RoB progressed over eight years in Burdwan Junction of the Eastern Railway, one of the country's future fast track models passing over the busy railway yards accommodating 10 tracks, they said. It encountered many issues along the way, including the restriction of maximum height of the road surface clearances and busy movement of rolling stocks over the yard, the officials said.

The RoB connects Burdwan town with the two sub-divisions of Kalna and Katwa, and is on the Howrah-Bardhaman main line.

This is not the first time that the state government and the Centre have sparred over the inauguration of projects in Bengal.

On February 8, Banerjee was upset after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Calcutta High Court’s Jalpaiguri circuit bench. She had then said, “Maddybabu (Modi) did not inform any high court judge or the state government. It’s a shame. It is like wedding without bride or groom. Only a bandwalah was present.”

A month later, the Jalpaiguri circuit bench was re-inaugurated by Banerjee.

Similarly, in December 2016, BJP’s Babul Supriyo was scheduled to throw open the Panagarh Bypass, but was inaugurated by TMC ministers Moloy Ghatak and Swapan Debnath. They alleged that Supriyo had intentionally kept the inauguration on hold for months for his political interest and, therefore, they had decided to open the bypass for the convenience of people.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Eastern Railway said: “A new four lane cable stayed road overbridge at Baddhaman (under final stage of completion) will be inaugurated by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on September 30, 2019. Dignitaries from the state government will also be invited for the inauguration programme.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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