WB Govt has no say in Kolkata East-West Metro alignment: Calcutta High Court

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA):  The Calcutta High Court today directed the Indian Railways and the Urban Development Ministry to inform it on the proposed alignment of East West Metro Railway while observing that the West Bengal government has no say in any decision in this regard.

Justice Nadira Patheria of Calcutta High Court ruled today, asking the Central Urban Development department to take up the matter with the Railway Board to resolve the issue.

The East-West Metro, meant to connect Salt Lake in the east with Howrah Maidan in the West, came before the High Court scanner as a construction agency involved in the project, Afcons, moved court after the issue of the construction site for Writers Buildings station remained unresolved.

Justice Patherya earlier questioned the state government’s plan to realign its route from the existing underground railway’s Central station to Esplanade.  “If Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants to turn Kolkata into London, then what is the problem of making Central station like Piccadilly in the British capital?” she said. She wondered if Esplanade would have the same importance so far as footfall was concerned once the bus terminus was shifted out of Esplanade.

The state government had already outlined plans to shift bus terminus from Esplanade also on a court order to ease the pollution in the heart of the city, she said. Two years ago, the railway ministry shot down the East-West Metro’s realignment proposal. “The state government aims to realign the route, part of which will be under the river Hooghly through Esplanade and from there to Howrah Maidan via BBD Bag,” the government pleader told the court.

With the choice of new alignment through Esplanade, the site of Writers Buildings station was required to be shifted from Brabourne Road behind Writers’ Buidling (Mahakaran) to the mini bus stand (on Old Court House Street) in front of Writers’ Buildings.

The East-West metro’s original plan was to have the existing north-south metro and the proposed east-west link intersect at the Central Avenue-Bowbazar crossing, gateway to business hub of the city.