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Thursday, April 09, 2020

East-West Metro Project: ‘Tunnelling work from today, but it will take 10 more months’

“The biggest challenge is that many buildings in the area are in poor condition. Our concern is the safety of the people,” Endicott, a geotechnical expert, said, adding that they will “super cautious” this time and will not repeat any of the previous incidents.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: February 22, 2020 1:47:43 pm
kolkata East-West Metro, kolkata metro, kolkata new metro, East-West Metro work, East-West Metro bowbazar building, kolkata city news John Endicott (centre) with tunnel expert Guy Christopher Bridge (right) and project director Ken Wong, Friday. (Express photo/Partha Paul)

The underground tunnelling work for the East-West Metro Project in Kolkata, which was halted in August following ground subsidence and the collapse of buildings in Bowbazar area, will resume from Saturday after the Calcutta High Court gave its nod, an international expert committee said here on Friday.

The committee, led by Leonard John Endicott and formed by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL), however, said that the underground tunnelling work is likely to take 10 more months to be completed, as a key machine has been damaged beyond repair and there is only one tunnel boring machine (TBM) now.

“The biggest challenge is that many buildings in the area are in poor condition. Our concern is the safety of the people,” Endicott, a geotechnical expert, said, adding that they will “super cautious” this time and will not repeat any of the previous incidents.

“Special measures have been taken to ensure that water does not seep into the tunnel (as it happened the last time),” he said, adding that work will be stopped within 60 minutes of noticing any abnormality during tunnelling in the area.

“It will take around 5 months for the TBM to go up to Sealdah from Bowbazar. Thereafter, it will take three months for the TBM, which is a huge machine, to turn around. It will take another two months for the machine to dig on the other side and reach up to the point where the first TBM had cut the tunnel,” the Endicott said.

He said the working TBM has been upgraded and it now has 50 per cent more capacity to ensure that the ground holds during tunnelling work.

The High Court had on February 11 allowed resumption of tunnel-boring work for the East-West corridor. Accepting a report by IIT-Madras, the court’s division bench directed the KMRC, the executing agency for the project, to restart operations in Bowbazar, in consultation with the institute.

On February 13, the 4.88km-long first phase of the East-West Metro, connecting information technology hub of Sector V in Salt Lake with Yuva Bharati Krirangan stadium, got functional.

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