Modi-Mamata to meet over the weekend

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on January 10, 2020 Published on January 10, 2020

Opposition parties may be critical of the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to boycott an all-party meet in Delhi over CAA-NRC. But that will not stop her from a likely meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also share stage with him, across different events scheduled over the weekend.

The development gains significance as political animosity between the two is on the rise with the amended Citizenship Act and NRC being the latest flash point. In fact, the two have not shared a dais in recent times either.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in the city on Saturday and Sunday to participate in sesquicentenary celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) and also dedicate four refurbished heritage buildings.

Sources in the State Secretariat say that Modi and Mamata are expected to meet at the Raj Bhavan in the presence of Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. Confirmation is awaited from both sides.

Meanwhile, Mansukh Laxmanbhai Mandaviya, Union Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge), is said to have invited Banerjee for attending the 150th anniversary celebrations of KoPT.

PM’s Kolkata visit

According to the PMO India’s official Twitter handle, “@narendramodi shall dedicate to the nation four refurbished heritage buildings in Kolkata. The PM shall also participate in the grand sesquicentenary celebrations of KoPT on 11th and 12th January.”

The four buildings are the Old Currency Building, the Belvedere House, the Metcalfe House and Victoria Memorial Hall.

The Prime Minister is also expected to visit the Belur Math, a monastery serving as the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.

KoPT events

As part of the KoPT’s 150th anniversary celebrations, the PM will hand over a cheque of ₹501 crore towards the final instalment to meet the deficit of pension fund of retired and existing employees of the KoPT.

Sources say, Modi will also be felicitating two oldest pensioners, Nagina Bhagat, 105, and Naresh Chandra Chakraborty, 100.

Besides this, Modi will inaugurate the upgraded ship repair facility of Cochin Kolkata Ship Repair Unit at Netaji Subhas Dry Dock of KoPT. A full rake handling facility and an upgraded railway infrastructure of Kolkata Dock System of KoPT for smooth cargo movement will also be inaugurated.

In another event, the prime minister will inaugurate Kaushal Vikas Kendra and Pritilata Chhatri Avas for 200 tribal girl students of Sunderbans.

Tajpur Port

According to Mandaviya, the Centre has no problem if the State government goes ahead with its plan of coming up with a deep sea port at Tajpur. The proposed port had become a bone of contention in a Centre-State tussle.

The West Bengal government had initially agreed to work on the KoPT and come up with a deep sea port either at Sagar Islands or in Tajpur. However, later the State government backed out and decided to take up the project alone.

Published on January 10, 2020
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