In a surprise move, the city civic body in Kolkata has demanded Rs 250 crore from the Metro Railway to build two stations on the E. M. Bypass, along the upcoming 32-km New Garia-Airport line.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has not given the approval to construct the stations till the price for the land is paid.
Khalil Ahmed, KMC Commissioner, said: “There are farmlands where the stations are proposed to be constructed. Hence, we have asked the Metro authorities to pay for it.”
This is the only Metro project witnessing some progress in the city. Work on the rest of the three projects have come to a grinding halt due to land acquisition hurdles or non-cooperation from the State Government in removing encroachers on acquired land.
Radhey Shyam, General Manager, Metro Railway, described KMC’s demand as unusual as Metro projects are treated as utility services and are offered land either at a nominal price or free of cost.
According to him, if KMC has its way, then the project cost should inflate by nearly six per cent from the estimated Rs 4,260 crore. Since the project is already delayed by more than a year, the actual cost inflation could be even higher.
“This (additional cost for land) will certainly have an impact on the project work. This is public utility project and KMC should ask for a logical price for the land required to develop the two stations. We have written to the State Chief Secretary seeking removal of the land price,” Shyam told.
The Metro extension project has received a budgetary allocation of mere Rs 45 crore for 2013-14, a sharp decline over the last year’s allocation of Rs 750 crore.