Kolkata’s East-West Metro project to follow new alignment

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), the executing agency for the East-West Metro, and the state government on Thursday finally arrived at an unanimous decision to follow the alternative alignment proposed by the state. The state government has agreed to share the cost required for any further study to implement the project along the alternative alignment.

Junior Union minister for urban development Babul Supriyo said, “I’m going all out to ensure there are no hurdles in the way of East-West Metro. I’m hopeful the state government will cooperate and as of now, with the assurances of state urban development minister Firhad Hakim and Bidhannagar MLA Sujit Bose, I’ve been following the development and it seems it will take three more years to complete. If the state government puts the Metro project on fast track, we will invite Mamata Banerjee to inaugurate the project.”

Thursday’s meeting also indicates resumption of active participation of the state government in the project. Without government help the project would never be completed, agreed railway officials. For the last two years, there has been no progress in the project, thus leading to huge cost overrun.

Significantly, the railways has become the biggest stake-holders in the project after the state government transferred its stake. The ministry of urban development also has 25% stake in the project. All the stake-holders huddled together on Thursday and agreed on the alternative alignment as it would mean least destruction of buildings, entail minimum social cost and the least requirement for traffic diversion.

The only stumbling block now appears to be the station at Subodh Mullick Square or Wellington. There is no available open space necessary for the construction of a railway station. This will necessitate the razing of a few multi-storeyed buildings and destruction of an underground British-era booster pumping station.

Eventually, the Subodh Mullick Square station might be dropped from the plan, if an appropriate site cannot be found. But it will not be a big loss as the distance between Sealdah and Esplanade is not much, a KMRC
officer said.

Thursday’s meeting was attended by all stake holders, including KMRC chairman Sri Radhey Shyam, its managing director Anand Kishore Jha, a host of state government officers led by principal secretary (transport) Alapan Bandyopadhyay and officers from the ministry of urban development.