The state government has proposed a slew of new roads and bridges and upgrade of airports to improve connectivity.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who presented the state budget on Friday, laid out the vision to transform the greenfield domestic airport at Andal near Durgapur into an international airport within two years so that it could serve as an alternative to Kolkata airport. The allocation made for the improvement in the airport’s infrastructure is Rs 150 crore.
Banerjee also iterated the state’s efforts to start regional flights from Balurghat, Malda and Cooch Behar and allocated Rs 50 crore for it.
Reconstituting the West Bengal Highway Corporation into West Bengal Highway & Bridge Corporation for construction and maintenance of new bridges and flyovers, Banerjee outlined several road and bridge projects as well.
The existing two-lane Basanti Highway is to be upgraded to a four-lane road between Kolkata and Basanti. The four-lane road at Ghatakpur on Kolkata-Basanti Highway (NH-117) will be developed further from Baruipur to Amtala.
Banerjee also announced a flyover from Sonarpur Bantala Road to Sonarpur Chakraberia Road. A bridge is proposed on Haldi river connecting Nandigram with Haldia.
In north Bengal, a 9.5km two-lane bridge will be constructed on Raidak-1 river on Baxirhat Jorai Road in Cooch Behar, the CM said.
She further announced a bridge on Balason river near Dhudhiya on State Highway 12 in place of the old bridge connecting Siliguri and Darjeeling via Mirik. “The Changrabanda-Jamaldaha-Mathabangha-Cooch Behar Road on State Highway 16 will be extended by 75km. The 60-km-long road connecting Batalbari and Dhantala on NH-31 will be widened to a two-lane road,” she announced.
In all, Rs 2,475 crore has been allocated for the next financial year for these road projects as well as multiple flyovers.
Over the next five years, Banerjee announced the plan to construct 46,000km new rural roads. Of this, 10,000km will be constructed and repaired in the next year under Pathasree scheme. A sum of Rs 500 crore has been allocated for the purpose in the next financial year.