Fresh troubles for Kolkata’s East-West Metro project

Kolkata:  The Rs 4,874-crore East-West Metro corridor project in Kolkata, already torpedoed by land acquisition problems, is likely to face new hurdles.

According to a source, ITD-ITD Cementation, which was awarded a contract for tunnelling work on a 5-km stretch of the project at a cost of nearly Rs 910 crore, may seek a compensation worth nearly Rs 200 crore, as it could not begin work on the 3-km stretch for the last 18 months. It is learnt to have completed 2-km tunnelling work in July last year. ITD-ITD Cementation is the second contractor to claim compensation after Afcons sought nearly Rs 250 crore in May last year for not being able to start work.

Implemented by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRC), the project is running almost three years behind the schedule.

“The contractor is inclined to demand a compensation from KMRC, as it has been incurring huge losses for deployment of equipment and manpower at the designated site,” the source told. H.K. Sharma, MD of KMRC, said the corporation has not yet got an official communication on the compensation issue.

Route crisis

The contractor firm’s officials were not available for comment.

KMRC officials had earlier said the principal lender’s opposition to realignment of the original route has been the major stumbling block for the Metro line. The West Bengal Government proposed an alternative route to relocate 250 shops and a few apartments on a half-km stretch in Central Kolkata.

Eventually, both contractors could not begin work even after deploying their equipment, since the crisis over route map was not sorted out.