UNION MINISTER of State for Urban Development and Asansol MP Babul Supriyo on Thursday said he was hopeful that first phase of the East-West Metro Project — connecting Salt Lake with Sealdah in Kolkata — will start operation from December, 2017.
After carrying out an inspection with Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL) officials, Supriyo said: “Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), a Bangalore-based PSU, has been awarded the contract to manufacture rakes for the Metro… The company will build 14 rakes in 20 months and we will get them by September 2017… this will give us the time for test-run.”
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“We had earlier set a date of June 2018 for the East-West Metro project to be functional. Going by the current progress of work, we think by December 2017 we will be able to start train services at least till Sealdah,” he added.
The second phase of the East-West Metro Project would stretch from Sealdah to Howrah Maidan. It is in this phase that the Metro would ply under water and work is expected to be completed by August, 2019. Fourteen fully air-conditioned rakes would ply on this route with a combined capacity of 2,136 passengers.
Supriyo, earlier on Thursday, inaugurated a portion of a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) at Howrah Maidan. “The machine will drill a tunnel from Howrah Maidan to Howrah station. From Howrah station, the tunnel will run for about 26 metres below Hooghly and reach the BBD Bag bus station,” a senior official said.
The tunnel, 520 metre wide, would be at a depth around 13 m from the riverbed. The TBM will be functional by April, this year.
Meanwhile, officials said the state government would urge the Railways Ministry to extend the Metro project from Central Park in Salt Lake to Haldiram near the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. A detailed project report has been drawn for the purpose and the proposed extension has been okayed at a Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL) board meeting.
“The KMRCL will soon write to the ministry. The extension will entail an added expenditure of Rs 1,347 crore. The proposed extension has five stations — Baisakhi, Kestopur, Baguihati, Raghunathpur and Haldiram,” said an official.