Mamata wants `foothold` in north Bengal

Announcing a slew of railway projects & new trains for north Bengal,Mamata sought a `foothold` for her party.

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2010, 20:45 PM IST

Siliguri: Announcing a slew of railway projects and new trains for north Bengal, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday sought a `foothold` for her Trinamool Congress in that region.

"Give us a little more space to set foot here. I am not a fair weather friend. I am consistently working for north Bengal," Banerjee, whose party has less following compared to ally Congress in north Bengal, told a railway programme in New
Jalpaiguri near here.
"Whatever I have announced on Monday I will give more to north Bengal," Banerjee said. She laid the foundation stone of a rail axle factory for which Rs 300 crore was sanctioned, announced a number of trains and the beginning of gauge conversion work for two lines among other projects.

She said that railways was thinking of partnering SAIL to help accelerate the axle project which would generate employment for a few thousand youths. There was 100 acre for the project which would "address the future needs of north Bengal", she said.

Noting that she planned to convert north Bengal with its natural beauty into Switzerland, she said she was also trying her best to improve communication facilities there. Banerjee said she was against dividing the state into north and south and was trying to join the two through development.

She also said that she would shortly visit Darjeeling, where an agitation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was continuing, and talk to the hill people for improving the services of the existing toy train, a major tourist attraction.

"I want the Darjeeling problem to be solved soon," she said.

PTI