Revealing the actual status of the 18 big railway projects which were announced when Mamata Banerjee was the railway minister, Chowdhury said no substantial work took place apart from tall promises. He said many of these projects do not have any realistic base and hence, despite approval of funds for them, no work materialised.He said the current railway budget has been prepared taking into consideration the expenses that were made under the earlier budgets.
Taking a dig at the TMC which said Bengal has been ignored under the current budget, Chowdhury said earlier, the Left Front used to accuse the Centre of depriving the state owing to political enmity and now, the TMC is doing the same just months after it pulled out from the UPA government. "Why couldn't the TMC do anything for the state in the last four years?", the report quoted Chowdhury as asking.
Political observers believe that Chowdhury raised the issue for the Congress suspects that the TMC will try to gain mileage by projecting before the panchayat polls that the former has deprived the state in the railway budget. The minister hence decided to go to the offensive to negate a potential attack by the TMC.
Chowdhury particularly targetted the railway projects that Banerjee had announced in politically significant places like Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh. These places have had a big impact in the contemporary politics in Bengal and the TMC leadership allegedly made endless promises to retain trust of the local vote bank.It was Singur and Nandigram which had catapulted Banerjee and her party to the corridors of power in the state after toppling a powerful Left regime in the state.
According to Chowdhury, the TMC only betrayed the people for it did nothing to carry out the real work. While not a single paisa was allocated for a farmers' project in Singur, the site where the project was to come up doesn't even have an approach road, said railway sources.
The wagon factory in Nandigam is a distant dream for no agreement has been signed between the two companies which were supposed to take up the project jointly.
Chowdhury also said that Banerjee did not contribute anything to implement the railway projects announced in Jangalmahal and hill areas of the state. According to the minister, the TMC government is busy blaming the railways but has not done its bit to make these projects a reality.
He also said the historic toy train in Darjeeling was ignored by the TMC railway ministers. It was only after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders approached the railways that the matter was taken up by the railway ministry.
Chowdhury also accused the TMC government of not cooperating with the Centre on various rail projects including the East-West Metro.