In a major achievement, the logjam over the Metro corridor between Joka and Esplanade has been cleared after seven years, as the railway ministry has sanctioned an amount of Rs 2,825 crores for building tracks, a major part of which will run underground, while the Metro officials will meet the state chief secretary to discuss the issues pertaining to the project. The Metro officials, according to sources, are to meet the state chief secretary Mr Moloy Dey, tomorrow. The meeting is being arranged by the officials of the state transport department.
The allocation of the additional amount comes as a blessing for the project that has undergone several hurdles in the past seven years. The project was a brainchild of chief minister Mamata Banerjee who was then the railway minister.
The project, since the year 2011-12, has witnessed problems of land unavailability, face-off between the defence ministry and the railways over the part of the corridor passing through army land near the Eastern Command headquarters at Fort Williams, obstructions in getting statutory clearance from concerned authorities and sanctioning of the underground plan, to name a few. The collapse of Majerhat Bridge in September 2018 aggravated the issues that had already plagued the project.
The project originally had been designed with an elevated corridor throughout its route. However, after an objection was raised by the defence ministry, over the stretch of the route passing through the army land near the Eastern Command headquarters, it had to be realigned with a combination of both elevated and underground routes.
According to sources in Kolkata Metro, the new design includes the elevated tracks running till Mominpore and going underground thereafter, passing through Kidderpore, Victoria Memorial Hall and Park Street areas, before finally reaching Esplanade.
The Esplanade Metro Station, which is a juncture of the existing North-South and East West metro, will then become an integrated junction of the three corridors
The news of the Centre sanctioning the amount for the underground corridor, which will run 20 metres below the ground, is being hailed by the metro officials.
“This is a very big achievement,” said an official of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), the implementing agency of the project.
“Earlier the sanction had come for the elevated project. As the fully elevated project was not possible, the material modification of the project had to be done. The sanction for the material modification after several years is a very big achievement,” he added.