Fresh uncertainties have called a halt to the Joka-BBD Bag metro project as the Union Finance Ministry is opposing an elevated track near Mint, Kolkata.
As per its original route plan, the crucial 17-km metro line, proposed to connect Joka (near IIM Calcutta ) with the central business district, passes through Mint and territories of Defence establishments .
Metro Railway, Kolkata, the executing authority, was awaiting the Ministry’s approval to continue construction work for the proposed station (Mominpur) near Mint. But, the Ministry has asked the Metro Railway to change the track into an underground one near Mint.
“An underground track near Mint, Kolkata is not technically feasible. There are also issues related to availability of land and shifting of major utilities ,” Radhey Shyam, General Manager, Metro Railway, told RailNews.
Construction work has been progressing on a nine-km stretch between Joka and Mominpur. Having started in 2010, about 10-15 per cent of the Rs 2,619-crore project has been completed, Shyam added.
Metro authorities have already conducted a feasibility study for an underground track between Kidderpore and BBD Bag, following objections by the Ministry of Defence to an elevated track along that stretch.
The entire metro link was originally planned to be elevated.
Experts feel revising the plan to an underground track beginning from Mominpur would substantially increase costs.
The project was allocated Rs 45 crore in the current Rail Budget. According to Shyam, the fund allocated this year is “inadequate” for such a project. Last year’s budget allocation for Joka-BBD Bag project was nearly Rs 600 crore.