The West Bengal government is opposed to the plan of the railways to involve private investors in developing the dedicated freight corridor on a 580 kilometres stretch in the state, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said today. State chief secretary Rajiva Sinha has said that he has already taken up the issue with the railways as land losers will not accept such a plan, adding that in the entire country no such initiative has ever been undertaken.

Miss Banerjee said that it was during her tenure as railway minister that she had proposed the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor Project in the budget and allocated funds. The CM has instructed to keep the industrial parks surrounding the freight corridors within the administrative control of the state government. She has directed to set up new clusters at Panagarh Industrial Park for more industries. She said that land acquisition for the freight corridor should not be a problem.

At the administrative meeting of Burdwan West district held at Srijani auditorium in Durgapur this afternoon, the chief minister also directed the chief secretary Rajiva Sinha to take up the issue of land for setting up houses under the Raniganj Coalfield Rehabilitation and Resettlement Scheme. The District Magistrate of Burdwan, Shashank Sethi, told her that out of 30,000 houses planned, construction work of 12,000 houses have already began.

“We need another 150 acres of land from ECL and hope to get about 60 to 70 acres,” the DM said. The Asansol mayor, Jitendra Tewari said that ECL is not giving land claiming that it was coal-bearing land.

The CM directed both the chief secretary and the DM to take up the matter with the Union coal secretary. “If any innocent people get killed due to subsidence then ECL has to take the responsibility then,” she said. Regarding the Andal airport, she said committees should be set up under the chief secretary at the state level and the DM at the district level for construction work of the township.

“There are a lot of problems for passengers coming from Kolkata airport at night and helicopter services can be started from Dumdum to Andal. There are communication problems too to districts like Bankura, Purulia and Birbhum and I want the chief secretary to think about introducing high speed bus services and monorail services through private sector for the benefit of the South Bengal districts,” she added.

She has also directed the PWD to repair the dilapidated road to Andal airport as the airport is fast becoming an important hub. There is immense scope for night landing facilities at Andal airport and it should also be exploited, she said. Inaugurating the Rs.225 crores Kulti Water Project, the CM said that about 62 thousand families will benefit.

The 12 MGD capacity water project will solve the drinking water problems of the people of Kulti. “Within one to two months the people should get house connections,” the CM directed mayor Jitendra Tewari. Besides, six more new water projects of PHE on river Ajay and Damodar in West Burdwan District, will be completed within 15 April, she added. She has also directed the district officials to set up a sub office at Kanksha and also set up a salpata cluster for the benefit of the tribal people.