Kolkata Metro: Allocation up for 4 other ongoing projects

KOLKATA: Metro Railway officials are certain that an enhanced allocation for the 32-km Kavi Subhash-Airport via Rajarhat link will speed up the project progress.

Of the four Metro projects sanctioned in 2010-11 that are in various stages of completion, this has progressed the most. With land hurdles more or less resolved, officials expect to utilize the entire allotted amount of Rs 250 crore for 2017-18.

“The outlay for 2018-19 is Rs 344 crore and we are hopeful of utilizing the entire sum by March 2019. If things go well, we may ask for more funds after revising the outlay. Till the end of 2017, we have already spent nearly Rs 1,300 crore. This is nearly 30% of the total project cost of Rs 4,259.5 crore. We are sticking to our target of 2020 for the entire stretch. Before that, two phases – up to Ruby crossing and then to Sector-V – will be thrown open,” an official said

In 2017, some of the land hurdles along the 16.72 km Joka-Esplanade project were also resolved and work started for the station at Mominpur. The railways ministry seems to have kept this in mind while allocating Rs 169.4 crore for this project that has been the slowest among the four. Till the end of 2017, barely Rs 560 crore of the total sanctioned cost of Rs 2,913.5 crore could be spent. However, removal of land hurdles and the progress in the last few months seem to have prompted the railways to increase the outlay for this year to more than thrice of the Rs 50 crore allotted for 2017-18.

Metro is also hopeful of completing the Noapara-Dakshineswar and Noapara-Jessore Road stretches by June 2019. The Dakshineswar link was held up due to encroachers along the way. The encroachers were finally rehabilitated by the state government in 2017. Unless new hurdles emerge, the project is on its way towards completion. Till 2017-end, nearly Rs 230 crore has been spent on this project.

Encroachers along the Noapara-Jessore Road stretch have also been removed and this project is also progressing smoothly. The link from Jessore Road to airport can, however, only take place once Airports Authority of India shifts some vital installations.

“Once links to Dakshineswar and airport are completed, we will start considering extension towards Barrackpore and Barasat. The state has already indicated that it wants these extensions and will help in acquiring land,” another official said.