Japan concern over hurdles on East-West Metro Corridor project

Kolkata: Confusion over stake-holding and “lack of decision making” are major impediments in implementing the Rs 4,874-crore East-West metro corridor project in Kolkata, according to senior official of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The agency is the lender to the project.

Originally promoted by the West Bengal Government and the Union Urban Development Ministry through a 50:50 venture; the project is now held by Indian Railways and the Urban Development Ministry.

Later the Railway Ministry proposed to take complete control over the project. Responding to its request, the Urban Development Ministry also agreed to offload its remaining 24 per cent stake to the Railways.

The problem began with Trinamool’s exit from UPA in September 2012. The Railways, which is already burdened with a loss-making Kolkata metro, is no longer interested to take full responsibility of East-West metro.

“Confusion over offloading the Urban Development Ministry’s stake to the Railways impacted decision making (on project),” the JICA official told.

“There is a management vacuum,” he said adding that the Ministry of Finance has been making efforts to “to put the project back on track”.

Route alignment

Among other issues that are impacting the project’s implementation is the West Bengal Government’s proposal for route alignment to avoid acquisition of approximately 0.5 acres of land in central Kolkata.

“The project will only be delayed further, if the realignment issue is not resolved,” the official said.