TMC lawmakers will boycott the inauguration of the awaited East-West corridor of the Kolkata Metro faced controversy on Thursday after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's name was left off the guest list. Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has been invited as the chief guest.
While Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and MLA Sujit Bose were invited, they have decided not to attend the programme in protest. Additionally, the Bidhanagar Municipal Corporation chairperson Krish Chakraborty will also boycott the event.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's name missing from the invitation for the inauguration of Phase I of the East-West Metro corridor between Salt Lake Sector-V to Salt Lake Stadium. #WestBengal pic.twitter.com/FFWcXcaKqE
— ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2020
"The East-West Metro corridor project was brainchild of Mamata Banerjee during her tenure as railway minister from 2009 to 2011. It was she who had sanctioned the money in railway budget. Now, when the project is being inaugurated she has not been invited. This is an insult to the people of Bengal," Dastidar was quoted as saying by PTI.
She was also quoted by News18 as saying, "Our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee planned the East West Metro Corridor. The work was started by her and now they are disregarding her effort. She was not invited and therefore we are also skipping the event."
The first phase of the East-West Metro corridor connecting Sector V with Salt Lake Stadium in the city will be inaugurated later on Thursday by Goyal.
Another TMC MP Sougata Roy told CNN-News18 that it was "very sad" that Banerjee hadn't been invited because she had also contributed to the project as the Union railways minister.
Echoing similar sentiments, Bose said, "Why should we attend the event when our chief minister has not been invited? The BJP should refrain from such petty politics."
Railway officials, however, have declined to comment on the matter.
Defending the decision to not invite Banerjee, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said, the TMC is "paying for its past sins".
"During the Left rule, Mamata Banerjee, as the railway minister, had not invited the then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, on several occasions. So they (TMC) should be the last to talk about courtesy."
"In several administrative meetings in Bengal, BJP lawmakers have not been invited. Was that a sign of courtesy? The railways have invited local public representatives. Now it is up to them to decide whether they would attend the inauguration," he added.
The East-West corridor project marks the first time that tunnels have been made under a river to connect twin cities. Tunnels have been made under the Hooghly river to connect the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah. The project faced a roadblock in August 2019 after buildings developed cracks and some collapsed in Central Kolkata’s Bowbazar area when an aquifer burst during tunneling work.
However, work was resumed after the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday gave the green signal based on a report by IIT Madras, which said that tunneling work could begin again.
The completion of the project was set for June 2021, but the 16.6-kilometre-long rapid transit system is likely to be operational by 2022. "Out of 10.9 kilometre-stretch, we have completed nearly 9.8 kilometres of underground section of the corridor,” a Metro official was quoted by News18.
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Updated Date: Feb 14, 2020 07:57:59 IST