Kolkata: If all goes according to plans, pandal-hoppers can take the Metro from Joka to Majerhat in 2018.
General Manager Kolkata Metro Railway M C Chauhan has asked Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) to expedite work on the Joka-BBD link and complete the 7.74-km stretch up to Majerhat in the next 18-odd months. He will meet state officials in the next few days to ensure all the hurdles are removed.
“The general manager is keen on four projects: the Joka-Majerhat stretch, the 5.3-km stretch between Kavi Subhash and Hemendra Mukherjee (Ruby Hospital) stations, the 4-km link between Noapara and Dakshineswar stations and the 5-km link from Noapara to Jessore Road. Phase-I of the East-West Metro corridor from Salt Lake Sector V to Sealdah is scheduled to be commissioned by June, 2018. The GM wants the other stretches to be ready by then as well. An action plan has been finalised,” Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said.
By mid-2018, Metro will have enough rakes to run services between Joka and Majerhat. “Two rakes from Integral Coach Factory (ICF) will arrive early in 2017. Rakes from China will start arriving by mid-2017. By 2018, most of the 14 Chinese rakes will have arrived. We are also finalising an order for 10 more rakes from ICF. These should also start arriving by 2018,” Chauhan recently said.
The Noapara-Jessore Road link should not be too much of a problem either once encroachments from railway land are removed. The Metro will utilize the existing Eastern Railway line between Dum Dum and airport as one of the arms of the project. The ER has already discontinued the use of those tracks to help Metro construction. For the Joka-BBD Bag stretch, the ministries of finance and defence have granted clearances, removing most of the hurdles.
“The GM wants no delay in construction. He has assured RVNL and Metro officers that he will take up all the problems with the state government. Officers should concentrate on construction and services will start in stretches that are ready, instead of waiting for the whole project to be completed. Once the north-south corridor is extended up to Dakshineswar and Jessore Road, the project is bound to bring a lot of relief to commuters there. The state has also assured all assistance. The chief secretary will soon convene a meeting of all stakeholders, including the encroachers. The state has assured them rehabilitation,” an official said.