West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has blamed the Railways for slowing down the reconstruction of the Majerhat Bridge and alleged that the department had delayed the clearance for nine months.

Mamata Banerjee said, “For nine months when rail didn’t give permission, you BJP party, were you sleeping? For nine months we’ve had repeated meetings with them, requesting for clearance.”

“For the last two years, people of Behala and South Kolkata have struggled so much. It (Majerhat Bridge) could have been completed nine months earlier. Just because Railways did not give permission at the right time that’s why we are facing this delay,” she added.

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Mamata Banerjee also attacked BJP for indulging in politics and alleged that it was because of the hindutva outfit that the reopening of the bridge got delayed.

The chief minister made the statement on a day some BJP supporters held a rally at Majerhat demanding the opening of the bridge.

The Majerhat bridge, which has replaced the one that collapsed in September 2018, has cleared a “load test”. The state government can fix a date for inauguration after the railway gives its nod.

The BJP supporters gathered around the bridge on Thursday (November 26) and started pulling down guardrails that have been put up to prevent any movement along the service roads around the bridge for safety reasons. Some allegedly attacked the police and damaged two-wheelers parked along the road.

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A police officer said, “We tried telling the protesters that the guardrails had been put up to restrict movement around the bridge and prevent any mishap. But they refused to listen and kept pulling them down.”

PWD officials said they were hoping for a quick response from the railway since a team of engineers had visited the bridge when the load test was on. State PWD minister Aroop Biswas said the railways should not delay the clearance as the central utility had supervised the construction of the bridge over the railway tracks.