Kolkata’s East-West Metro tunneling to start from Howrah in Sept

Metro tunnellingKolkata: Metro Railway will make an all-out effort to resolve issues that have affected the construction of the East-West corridor from the Howrah Maidan end. This was indicated by Metro Railway general manager A K Kapoor, who inspected the stretch from Howrah Maidan to Salt Lake Sector-V on Thursday and spoke to various stakeholders of the project.

Kapoor is also the chairman of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL), which is in charge of the E-W corridor. Work at the Howrah-end is likely to start before railway minister Suresh Prabhu’s next visit to Kolkata in the third week of September.

“At present, no work is going on at the Howrah end as a court case is pending on the matter. During his last visit to Kolkata, Prabhu met chief minister Mamata Banerjee and was assured of all assistance. With help from state government, the issues holding up work at Howrah will be resolved soon. A tunnel-boring machine will then be lowered at Howrah Maidan. The GM instructed all officials to ensure that deadlines are met,” said a senior official.

During his last visit to Kolkata in August, Prabhu had said that the first phase of the E-W corridor, which stretches from Salt Lake Sector-V to Mahakaran, will be completed by June, 2018. During his next visit, the minister is likely to announce commencement of work on the technical portion, including laying of ballast-less tracks and signaling systems. If the June, 2018, deadline is to be met, officials will also have to expedite work on the stretch between Sealdah and Mahakaran via Esplanade.

The original alignment of the E-W Metro link was via CR Avenue and Brabourne Road. But, the new alignment will pass through Esplanade and Mahakaran before going under the Hooghly towards Howrah Maidan. The railways ministry was initially reluctant to bear the additional costs for the changes in alignment. But after much confusion and a prod by Calcutta high court, the ministry relented.