Railways can't give jobs to all who give land, says Adhir

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 Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
New Delhi, Nov 2: Minister of State for railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has uttered the unpleasant truth by saying that the Indian Railways can not afford to offer job to one member of all those families who give their land for railway projects. According to the veteran Congress leader from Berhampore in West Bengal, such a promise which was made by former Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee is impossible to keep in reality.

According to a report published in Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika on Friday, Chowdhury said those who will give land for railway projects will get compensation as per the government laws. "But it is impossible for the railways to offer jobs to everybody," he said.

Chowdhury, who has asked top railway officials of Eastern Railway to come to New Delhi to discuss the pending railway projects in West Bengal, said the Centre has no intention to deprive the state of these projects.

Railway sources said some of the projects which were announced by Mamata Banerjee were supposed to be set up under the public-private partnership. But issues like land acquisition and lack of enthusiasm on behalf of the private investors have reportedly stalled the progress. Chowdhury stressed that the state government should co-operate and the Centre would try its best as far as these projects are concerned.

Chowdhury claimed Banerjee did not consider the land acquisition problem before announcing many of the rail projects. He said Banerjee had laid the foundation stone of the railway project at Furfura Sharif before acquiring land for laying tracks. According to Chowdhury, the land acquisition problem can not be solved without the state government's help.

According to political observers, Chowdhury's straight talk is a diplomatic move. For one, Chowdhury is a minister of state and has limited power to fulfil Bengal's projects. Second, it is difficult to implement all the projects that Banerjee had promised for the railways have been plagued by serious financial woes.

Moreover, the UPA government is in its last phase and it will be a big challenge for it to complete all pending projects in West Bengal. Chowdhury, experts believe, is keeping his ground ready in case the state government attacks the Centre for not completing the railway projects, the daily report said.

The Congress leader also said that he was very much interested in boosting West Bengal's economy with the help of railway projects. "I am open to good advice from former railway ministers like Mamata Banerjee, Dinesh Trivedi and Mukul Roy," he said.

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