Babul Supriyo lauds Mamata, targets detractors on East West Metro

New Delhi:  Days after the long-delayed East-West Metro (EWM) corridor in Kolkata connecting the neighbouring Howrah district got the nod from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Union Minister Babul Supriyo on Sunday thanked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for doing her part. "EastWestMetro: Want to really see the faces of the ones who badmouthed me for meeting Didi (Mamata Banerjee) on Jhhalmoori. She helped clear the encroachments," tweeted Supriyo, the lone minister in the central government from West Bengal. Trying to signal a likely rapprochement between the BJP-led central government and Mamata Banerjee regime in the state on developmental projects, he further said, "When the Central and state governments work in sync, keeping politics aside, things happen for people. Wish to thank West Bengal government for helping." On June 15, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) gave clearance for constructing a station of the East-West Metro (EWM) project near three protected monuments. The ASI had asked the KMRC, the project's executing agency, to carry out an archaeological impact assessment for undertaking construction of the metro station within the prohibited zone of the Currency Building, the Magen David synagogue and Beth-el synagogue in Kolkata.  Supriyo had earned a rebuke from party colleagues like actress Rupa Ganguli and BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh for sharing some light moments with Trinamool Congress supremo last year. Supriyo, who represents Asansol seat in south Bengal, also showered praise on Banerjee at a public function and shared ‘jhalmuri’ with the Chief Minister in her car on the way to Raj Bhavan.  In a virtual snub to the singer-turned-politician, Singh had said that the "jhalmuri diplomacy" will not work in West Bengal.  In the recent assembly elections, BJP fought against Banerjee's Trinamool fiercely but after her resounding victory, the central government had tried to reach out to her in more ways than one especially eyeing her support in the Rajya Sabha for passage of important legislation including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. The Metro project - connecting two busiest railway stations Sealdah and Howrah - was originally slated to be operational by 2012, but the date was postponed to October 2014, and then to 2015. Over 50 percent of the work in phase 1 and six percent in phase two has been completed. The target date for completion of the second phase, traversing a distance of 7.2 km and connecting Sealdah with Howrah Maidan, is now August 2019.