Ahead of the railway budget 2016-17, Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched a host of projects in Kolkata on Sunday.

The minister inaugurated or laid the foundation stone for a bunch of metro railway, south eastern railway and eastern railway projects. “A lot of development can be done in West Bengal as the state has the potential. But for development, transportation and connectivity should be improved first. Hence, I request the state to work hand in hand with the Central government,” said Prabhu. In this connection, he also stressed on the integrated transport policy and disclosed that the government is contemplating to start it soon. While talking about railway track blockades by demonstrators, he requested the people of West Bengal not to block the railway lines causing inconvenience to thousands of people who travel by train everyday.

“Because of the agitation in Haryana, the railways have lost much precious property. The railway is under pressure to find the money again. If you burn it, we will not be able to provide you with additional facilities; the present infrastructure has to be restrengthened,” he said. He further said that a railway project in Cooch Behar had to be suspended due to the on-going agitation there.

Among others, the minister inaugurated a new approach road from Belgachia Road overbridge to Kolkata terminal and laid the foundation stone for construction of foot overbridge at Ranaghat station. He also dedicated the newly constructed foot overbridge at Naihati station, launched the commencement of work for Sankrail to Satragachi broad gauge link line via flyover, and the commencement of construction of underground metro tunnel between Airport and Jessore Road, as well as the introduction of 14 additional metro services during the peak hours. In his speech,  Prabhu highlighted the point that like railway infrastructure is a must to better the Indian Railway service, so sound city transportation is also the need of the hour.

Prabhu assured that the metro rakes would be increased keeping in mind the peak hour traffic. Others present in the programme were MPs Saugata Roy and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.