KOLKATA: Tensions between the Centre and the West Bengal government escalated in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections as the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government withdrew from the joint venture with Centre for construction of 16-metre-deep Tajpur port and Sagar Island bridge in coastal West Bengal accusing the latter of dillydallying with the projects.
The state government has decided to build the port and the bridge themselves without central assistance without waiting for the Shipping Ministry's 'techno-economic feasibility report' slated to be sent by January end.
The move comes a few days after the West Bengal government withdrew from the Ayushman Bharat health cover accusing Centre of taking all the credit of the joint venture project.
Speaking at a press conference late on Wednesday evening after holding an administrative meeting over the issue, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: "The Tajpur port was slated to be built in a joint Centre-state partnership at 74:26 stake ratio respectively. However, the Centre did not take any positive step over the past three years towards building the port which is why we decided to withdraw from the project and solely build the port."
Sources in Nabanna said that the state government decided to build Tajpur Port based on the provinces' rights to build minor ports and issued a notification to its effect a few days ago.
The declaration was made a few days after the state announced that it would also build a bridge across Muriganga river to connect the Hindu pilgrimage Ganga Sagar at Sagar Island with the mainland without seeking any assistance from Delhi.
State finance, commerce and industries minister Amit Mitra said that besides Tajpur, the state government had also received necessary permit to build a port at Kulpi in South 24 Parganas district near the mouth of Hooghly river.
The port would be built in a Public-Private-Partnership model between private players Dubai-based DP World and Bengal Ports Limited and between the state industrial development corporation at a 44.5:44.5:11 stake ratio. Sources revealed that even Adani Group expressed interest to build the port on the lines of Gujarat's Mundra Port.