Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, PM launches Rs 4,500-cr projects under Viksit Bengal Prog
SILIGURI, Mar 9 (The CONNECT) – Alleging that the interests of eastern India have been neglected in the decades after Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the current government considers eastern India the growth engine of the nation.
That is why unprecedented investment is being made to improve connectivity in the region, Modi said launching multiple rail and road projects worth over Rs 4500 crores in West Bengal as part of the ‘Viksit Bharat Viksit West Bengal’ programme here.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee was not present at the event which was however attended by Governor C V Ananda Bose and Union Minister of State Nisith Pramanik ,
The Prime Minister stated that the annual average railway budget for West Bengal which was just 4,000 crore rupees has now risen to Rs 14,000 crore. He spoke about semi high-speed Vande Bharat train from North Bengal to Guwahati and Howrah and the inclusion of Siliguri station in the 500 Amrit Bharat stations which have been taken up for upgradation.
“In these 10 years, we have taken the railways development from passenger to express speed. In our third term this will move forward at superfast speed,” PM Modi said.
The Prime Minister underlined that the Northern part of West Bengal is the gateway to the Northeast and also provides trade channels with neighbouring countries. Therefore, he said, the development of West Bengal along with the state’s Northern part has been the government’s priority.
He emphasized the need for modernized rail and road infrastructure and mentioned the completion of work on the electrification of rail lines on Eklakhi – Balurghat, Raninagar Jalpaiguri – Haldibari and Siliguri – Aluabari sections which will increase the speed of trains in the areas of North and South Dinajpur, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri, while the Siliguri – Samuktala route will reduce pollution in the nearing forest areas.
The electrification of Barsoi – Radhikapur section will benefit both Bihar and West Bengal, he said. Referring to the flagging off of new train service between Radhikapur and Siliguri, PM Modi said that the strengthening of railways in West Bengal will give momentum to new possibilities of development and make lives easier for the common people
Modi said that the government is committed to maintaining the same speed of trains in the region as the rest of India and modern fast trains are being launched. He mentioned rail connectivity with Bangladesh as Mitali Express is running from New Jalpaiguri to Dhaka Cantt and connectivity is being extended up to Radhikapur station in collaboration with Bangladesh Government.
The Prime Minister spoke about the inauguration of two road projects worth more than Rs 3,000 crores in Northern West Bengal. He said that four laning of Ghoshpukur – Dhupguri Section of NH 27 and four-lane Islampur Bypass will reduce traffic jams in the cities of Jalpaiguri, Siliguri and Mainaguri while also providing better connectivity to the regions of Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar.
“Reaching tourist destinations such as Duar, Darjeeling, Gangtok and Mirik will become easier”, PM Modi said, noting that it will also encourage trade, industry and the tea gardens of the region.