bappaditya paul
KOLKATA, 19 JUNE: Having failed to meet the railway ministry’s March deadline, the Noapara Metro station (in sns photo) in Kolkata’s northern suburb is now likely to be thrown open to the public in the first week of July.
Work on the new Metro station is complete and the mandatory clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), Eastern Circle, also came through in late May.
According to Metro Railway general manager, Mr Radhey Shyam, they were now imparting training to motormen (train drivers) on operating trains on the 2.59-km new route from Dum Dum to Noapara. "The training is at an advanced stage and we have plans to commission the Noapara station for passengers soon,” the Metro GM said. Another senior Metro Railway official, attached to the operations wing, said that the “road-learning training” being imparted to train drivers would be over by the end of the month. After that they would be in a position to throw open the station anytime. “But it will be safe to say that the station will be opened in the first week of July.”  There has been confusion as to whether the new Metro station can be opened during the panchayat polls scheduled to continue till 15 July as a Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in force; but the State Election Commission secretary, Mr Tapas Ray, today clarified that MCC is effective only for the rural areas. Noapara Metro station comes under the joint jurisdiction of Baranagar and Dum Dum municipalities.
 Metro Railway has a car shed at Noapara spread over a 147-acre premise; the new Metro station ~ which is an elevated one ~ has been constructed on the left side of the car shed at an estimated cost of Rs 182 crore. The station has four platforms but initially the authorities will put two platforms into service for trains plying on the main Kavi Subhash (New Garia) -Dum Dum-Noapara Metro route; the rest two platforms will be put to use once the proposed Dakshineswar Metro route is opened.
Noapara Metro station will serve commuters from Sinthi More, A K Mukherjee Road and B T Road. It will take about five minutes for a Metro train to cover the distance from Dum Dum to Noapara, thus taking 54 minutes for an end-to-end trip from New Garia to Noapara. As of now a Metro train takes about 49 minutes to cover the existing 25.23-km Metro route from New Garia to Dum Dum. Faced with a shortage of train drivers, Metro Railway is planning to operate only 50 trains up to Noapara in the initial stage and gradually increase the number of trains depending on the rush of passengers. As of now, Metro Railway operates 270 trains on weekdays, 201 on Saturdays and 76 trains on Sundays at five, seven, eight, ten and 15-minute interval. The average number of daily Metro commuters is 6 lakh.