Kolkata: Minister of State for Railway and Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury Tuesday refuted the allegation of West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress that the rail budget for 2013-14 neglects the state and challenged it to prove the claim in parliament.
"In no way West Bengal has been neglected. I have gone through the budget," Chowdhury said to requests for comments on the Trinamool' allegation that the rail budget was directed towards "killing the projects" in Bengal initiated by party chief and former railway minister Mamata Banerjee.
Trinamool MP Saugata Roy told reporters in Delhi that the budget "has only one direction that is how to kill projects started by the Trinamool Congress railway ministers, especially with regard to West Bengal. Bengal has been singled out with an effort to kill all the projects in the state".
Refuting the charge, Chowdhury said in this year's budget, sufficient funds were allocated for ongoing rail projects in West Bengal.
"In this budget, the railway announced that nationally it would complete 347 ongoing projects during the 12th Five Year Plan. Among these projects, 65 belong to West Bengal. Now you tell me how can Bengal be deprived as alleged by the Trinamool?" he wondered.
"I want Sugata-da (Roy) to prove in parliament that the centre has deprived West Bengal," he said.
According to him, the budget has allocated more than Rs.620 crore for Kolkata's Metro extension projects for 2013-14.
Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who presented his maiden rail budget, Tuesday said construction of Metro system in Kolkata from Dum Dum to Noapara was scheduled to be completed by March 2013.
He also announced that with a view to contributing to the national skill development programme of the government, railways would impart skills to the youth in railway related trades in West Bengal' Murshidabad along with other 24 locations spread across the country.