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Metro links on ‘fast track’
Dinesh Trivedi (top) and Sovan Chatterjee

Work to lay tracks along BT Road for the Noapara-Barrackpore Metro link will start by the middle of next year after the Calcutta Municipal Corporation hands over the stretch to the railways, railway minister Dinesh Trivedi said on Sunday.

It was decided at a meeting between Trivedi and mayor Sovan Chatterjee that work on the other Metro links — New Garia to airport, Dakshineswar to Dum Dum, Noapara to airport and Joka to Mominpur — will start in a month.

Work on setting up stations along the 14km Noapara-Barrackpore project, however, will start next month.

“Construction work for the projects (except the Noapara-Barrackpore one) will start in a month. The mayor has told us that the CMC will hand over the stretch along BT Road by the middle of next year. The projects are now expected to be on fast track,” said Trivedi.

Mayor Chatterjee said: “Metro projects in the CMC areas came up for discussions at the meeting with the railway minister. I assured him that the CMC would extend all help to complete the projects in time,” said Chatterjee.

As for the BT Road stretch, the mayor said it would be handed over to the railway ministry after work on laying the Tallah-Palta pipeline got over next year.

Elevated tracks along BT Road for the Barrackpore project could not be laid because of the network of underground water and drainage pipes.

An engineer of the civic body, however, questioned the minister’s “middle-of-next-year” claim, saying there was hardly any chance of the stretch being handed over before December 2012.

Early this year, Metro and civic officials had conducted several inspections of BT Road but were unable to find a solution. “Alternative routes were proposed but fears of cost escalation prompted us to stick to the original route,” said a Metro official.

The New Garia-airport project, too, faces similar hurdles with underground telephone cables and water and sewerage lines coming in the way of execution.

In an attempt to fast-track the Metro projects, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has asked various state government agencies to hold coordination meetings with the railways every month.

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