With portions of a third building crumbling and cracks and crevices developing at new places on a consecutive second day, uncertainties on East-West Metro Corridor 2021 deadline, surfaced today. The Line-2 Project which is supposed to link Howrah Maidan to Sector V in Salt Lake passes through the River Hooghly for about half a kilometre. The 16.6km stretch has already missed deadlines in the past and the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRC) authorities were putting their efforts to complete the project by 2012.

The first phase of the project is expected to undergo its final commissioning by Durga Puja and full-fledged independent trials were recently carried by the staff of the existing North-South metro. However, after the incident of partial collapse of three buildings and wide gaps in several buildings, the number of which are on the rise with every passing day, the deadline for the completion of the project is in a toss. As informed by KMRC authorities, the deadline of 2021 for the final commissioning of the project costs over 8,000 crores.

The unprecedented incident in the history of KMRC projects in the city since yesterday has brought an uphill task of stopping the water flow inside the tunnel. KMRC authorities since the 48 hours or so have been taking measures to stop the heavy flow of water from aquifers into the tunnel, on war footing. Above the ground, two special machines, drill machine and pressure vehicle machine have been deployed, according to engineers near the spot of the affected buildings. The drill machine is being used to check the extent of the affected area by drilling the ground.

The pressure vessel machine is being used to check the pressure that the buildings will be able to sustain due to the drilling activities. W hile on one side the tunnel boring machine Chandi has been stationed 14meters behind the affected stretch of Durga Pithuri Lane, tunnel digging activities have been suspended for the time being. The KMRC authorities at present claimed to be focussed to saving lives and providing temporary accommodation to the evacuees. However, the major challenge still faced by the KMRC engineers is to deploy means and ways to stop the inflow of water in the tunnel and below the affected area that could lead to further displacement in the ground resulting in collapses and crevices.

“Water is still flowing inside the tunnel,” informed Mr A.K Nandy, general manager (admin) of KMRC. “Water is being pumped out through channels. To prevent water further inflow of water, we are also carrying out the grouting inside the tunnel and on the ground at the affected stretch. Our team of tunnel experts are inside the tunnel who are taking steps to prevent the water flow, he added.