Metro trains will start to operate from Salt Lake Sector V to Phoolbagan, which is part of Phase I of East-West Metro project, by October this year, Metro general manager Ajay Vijayvargiya said on Sunday. Talking to the reporters this afternoon at Metro Bhavan, Mr Vijayvargiya said that facing no obstruction enroute the ongoing metro projects is very necessary to get money soon from the Centre.

Passenger fare from Sector V to Phoolbagan under the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation will be definitely more than the existing rate of fare, he said. Metro work from Sealdah station to Howrah Maidan will be completed by December, 2020. From Kavi Subhash to Hemanta Mukherjee station, a five kilometre stretch, the work will be completed by June, 2018, Mr Vijayvargiya said.

The Metro Railway authorities on Sunday said that funds will not be a constraint for ongoing projects as it has been allotted Rs 180.36 crore more in the 2018-19 Union Budget than the current fiscal. Stating that most of the ongoing projects have been sanctioned higher funds compared to 2017-18, Metro Railway general manager said that a total of Rs 830.36 crore was allotted in the financial year 2019 Budget, which stood at Rs 650 crore in financial year 2018. “With regard to East West Metro, we could spend only Rs 900 crore till January 2018 out of the Rs 1,937 crore allotted for 2017-18 owing to various reasons beyond the control of Metro Railway,” he said.

The general manager said that while Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) clearance for construction under heritage buildings in the Dalhousie area came late, there was also a delay in getting approval for work in Defence-owned land in adjoining Esplanade. With a view to boost the speedy completion of the construction works of the ongoing metro projects, Rs 180 crore was allotted in this Union Budget. In 2017- 18 fiscal, the Union Ministry of Railway had sanctioned Rs 1937 crore but in 2018-19, Rs 1100 crore was sanctioned for speedy completion of the construction works for East West Metro project.

“Work is progressing very well and the rest of the metro project is likely to be completed within two years from now,” Mr Vijayvargiya said. The East West Metro project of KMRC Ltd, spanning a 16.6-km length from Sector V in Salt Lake to Howrah Maidan across river Hooghly, has been witness to prolonged delays for various reasons from clearances to land acquisition issues. Completion of construction of tunnels under river Hooghly in June 2017 was a major milestone for the project, which will have a 10.8- km underground corridor while the rest would be elevated section.