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Delhi purse push to East-West Metro

The East-West Metro, the second major transit system planned in the city after Metro Rail, has seen a ray of hope with the Centre expressing its willingness to share funds for the Rs 1,800-crore project. Union urban development ministry joint secretary P.K. Pradhan, along with a senior department officer, met state government officials in Calcutta last week and gave the go-ahead for a techno-feasibility report.

The Centre will bear 40 per cent of the project cost. “We are pleased that though late, Delhi has been convinced and has agreed to provide funds,’’ said urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya. The project will involve several departments, including railway, Union surface transport and urban development, the CMDA, the PWD and state transport.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who initiated the move to reopen discussions on the two-year-old proposal, has already urged Planning Commission deputy commissioner K.C. Pant to provide funds for the project in the Tenth Plan period. Bhattacharjee has also had a preliminary talk with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) which, sources said, has shown interest. The chief minister has instructed Bhattacharya to prepare the project report at the earliest, which will be submitted to the JBIC.

According to transport department officials, JBIC is keen on taking up another major transport infrastructure project in the city, as its Rs 1,600-crore flyover project is likely to be over by the end of this month.

The 20-km elevated-cum-underground East-West passage will start from Central Park in Salt Lake and terminate at Ramrajatala. It will cross the Hooghly through a tube at Jagannath Ghat. The route will cover the EM Bypass, Narkeldanga Main Road, BB Ganguly Street, Strand Road, Howrah Maidan and Belilius Road. The track will be on the surface from Salt Lake to the Bypass and from there, the elevated road will combine with the existing railway track at Narkeldanga Main Road up to Sealdah.

From Sealdah station, it will go underground and combine with the Central Metro station, where there is provision for a second track. The underground tunnel will continue till Howrah station, from where the elevated road will go on till the terminal station.

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