Updated January 17th, 2024 at 19:52 IST

Politics Over Kolkata Metro Project: Mamata Denies Permission To Railways For Expansion

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she would never permit the demolition of the skywalk that connects the famed Dakshineswar temple to the metro station.

TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. | Image:PTI
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Kolkata: Unveiled in 2018, the Dakshineswar Skywalk has revolutionized the pilgrimage journey for worshippers visiting the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. Extending 400 meters, the skywalk links the Dakshineswar railway station, metro station, and bus stand, guiding devotees effortlessly to the temple entrances.

This innovative structure eliminates the need for navigating through congested roads and chaotic traffic, offering a welcome blessing for pilgrims of all ages and physical abilities.

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However, rejecting the railways' request for land for the expansion of a metro line, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she would never permit the demolition of the skywalk that connects the famed Dakshineswar temple to the metro station.

The Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) in a letter to the state government in November last year sought permission for clearing and shifting various existing structural utilities such as parts of the skywalk for the proposed extension of the metro viaduct beyond the Daksineswar station, which was commissioned in 2021.

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"They talk about religion and used to accuse me that I don't allow Durga Puja in the state. They now want to demolish the Dakshineswar skywalk. This is their true nature. But I want to say this clearly, I will never allow the removal of that structure till the last drop of my blood. I will not allow anyone to touch it," Banerjee said, addressing a press conference.

"Dakshineswar skywalk is my dream project, and as long as I'm alive, I won't let anyone lay a finger on it. We are ready to cooperate with the railways. But if they try to demolish our heritage, then I won't allow it," she said, also citing the demand for land by the railway at the Alipore Body Guard Lines for the Joka-Esplanade Metro project.

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Banerjee said that despite the railways sending the letter to the state government on November 20, she came to know about it recently through a news report.

She directed officials to promptly bring such letters to her notice in the future.

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The RVNL was proposed to the state government after the Metro Railway Kolkata asked for an extension of the viaduct to get adequate signal overlap, which will allow smoother operation of trains between Dum Dum and Dakshineswar, which is a part of the North-South line.

The Metro Railway said that it does not want to comment on what the chief minister said.

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"We never want that the skywalk to be demolished," Metro Railway spokesperson Kausik Mitra said.

The Metro only wants some space in Dakshineswar for facilitating the crossover of trains at the terminal station, he added. 

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Published January 17th, 2024 at 19:46 IST