Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kolkata gets country's first elevated rail transit system

Now reading this headline many people might jump of this seat in disbelief. Kolkata is it? The capital of West Bengal? Isn't it the same state which chased away the Tatas? A Rs 60 billion project in Kolkata is the Government nuts? How is it that a dying city like Kolkata which already has the country's oldest metro can get an elevated rail transit system?

The reason is simple Kolkata needs a mass public transport system and secondly Kolkata can sustain a elevated light rail transit system. It may surprise many people across the country but Kolkata had got its Metro in the days of what we call as the 'Licence Raj' and the first trains began running in the year 1984 much before the today's IT, BT and MBA kids had learned to speak.

The hurdle for a such a project in any other state in India will lie outside it but in West Bengal it is within. There is a huge amount of insensitivity among a certain sect of politicians who want to make political gains at the cost of the State's development. Opportunistic politics is currently ruling over developmental politics the policies and program of such parties

The Singur fiasco was a shameful example how politics prevented a respected corporate like Tata rolling out its People's car from the state. What a day it would have been for the state which is starved of industrialisation. But for one party and its leadership the state lost a golden opportunity to re-establish its place among the developed states and regain its past glory.

As I type my blog an insane opposition in West Bengal may be already planning its next course of agitation to halt this project for the sake of fame and media coverage. The may already have the roadmap of the places where tyres will be burnt and buses will be torched. Hopefully this time around some sense prevails among such leaders. The state which has a visionary Chief Minister just needs people to stand behind him.


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