1st phase Kolkata East-West Metro to start by Dec’17

Kolkata (KOAA): Union Minister of State for Urban Development Babul Supriyo today said the first phase of the long-awaited East-West Metro Rail in Kolkata is likely to be commissioned in December 2017, six months ahead of the projected date.

“People of Kolkata may have a joyride in the East West Metro’s first phase from Salt Lake to Sealdah by December 2017. Even as the target to commission the first phase of this project had been earlier fixed at June 2018, we are trying to make it by December 2017,” Supriyo said.

The Minister was speaking at an interactive session on ‘Federal Structure of Governance is the Key to Faster Urban Growth in India’ organised by the Merchant Chambers of Commerce (MCC).

The projected date for the launch of the first phase of the Rs 4,875 crore project was set earlier at June 2018.

The project was stuck over rehabilitation issues of a section of residents of the Dattabad area in Salt lake, which was resolved later and the the date of commissioning was likely to be advanced by six months, he said.

Hopes revived for the project as unwilling residents agreed to relocate from the project site, with Supriyo raising the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

For the second phase of the project from Sealdah to Howrah Maidan, Supriyo said the Centre was ready to accept the state government’s proposal for realignment of the stretch on condition that it received clearance from the ASI.

“This is because the realigned line will be 40 metres away from the heritage Old Currency Building. As per rules there should be at least a 100 metre gap between the realigned line and heritage building,” the Minister said.

The state government was insisting with its proposal of the realigned route on the Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation (KMRC), which was executing the project, but the route was yet to be vetted by the Railways.

KMRC, initially a joint venture between the Union Urban Development Ministry and the West Bengal government, was developing the East West metro project connecting Salt Lake to Howrah Maidan.

In 2013, following a request from Mamata Banerjee, the state’s stake in the project was handed over to the Indian Railways, which runs the existing metro services in Kolkata.