The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) has completed tunnelling under the Hooghly, as part of its project to provide Metro connectivity between Howrah and Kolkata. The 520-metre tunnel is part of the East West Metro project, to connect Howrah with Kolkata. It is a crucial link in the 16.6 km-long project, which is being built by KMRC at a cost of around Rs 9,000 crore. According to KMRC Managing Director Satish Kumar, this is the first such underwater project in the country.
“India has joined a select band of nations. Another rare feat has been achieved by Kolkata after getting the first Metro railway in the country in 1984. The KMRC team comprising 250 workers, including engineers from abroad, has completed the construction of India’s first underwater tunnel under Hooghly. It is a great feat for us,” Kumar said at a press conference.
Work to construct two tunnels under the riverbed began in the last week of April. The first tunnel was completed on May 23, and the second was completed on June 20. The twin tunnels have been constructed 13 metres below the riverbed, and 30 metres below the ground.
Operations for Phase I of the East-West Metro Corridor between Salt Lake and Phoolbagan will start in June next year. The 9.4-km-long Phase I has eight stations. Out of eight stations, two will be underground. Out of 9.4 kms, 5.8 kms are on an elevated track. The first rake, built by BEML, will arrive in December this year.
“Total 14 rakes will arrive before Phase I operations. Out of 14 rakes, 9 will be used for Phase I. Three additional rakes will come later. The rakes will run at 80 kmps, and at a 2.5 minute interval. Each rake will have six coaches, which will accommodate 2,068 passengers,” said Kumar.
He informed full operations would start from 2020, as work for Phase II (from Howrah Maidan to Sealdah Station) is yet to be completed.
“Two underground stations at Mahakaran (BBD Bag and Esplanade) will take three years to complete. So operation for Phase II, which means the entire East West Metro project, will not be completed before 2020,” Kumar said.
Meanwhile, KMRC has received clearance to start work on Phase II. Work on construction of the Esplanade station has already started. All air-conditioned metro stations of East West Metro project will have escalators, stairs, elevators and washrooms.