Chief secretary Sanjoy Mitra, who met the top brass of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd at Writers’ Buildings, issued a no-objection certificate from his table for the company to raise a pier for the New Garia-Airport Metro from the canal running under Ambedkar bridge along the Bypass.
Mitra also fixed deadlines for government agencies to fast-track work related to the New Garia-Airport and Joka-BBD Bag Metro projects.
Satish Agnihotri, chairman and managing director of RVNL, said the government’s promise to remove the roadblocks was a big boost for the twin projects. “We are keen on completing the projects (according to schedule) and after today’s meeting, we remain very optimistic about the initiative taken by the Bengal government,” he said.
The New Garia-Airport Metro, a Rs 4,000-crore project, is already a year behind schedule and mired in controversy over land acquisition.
Chief secretary Mitra told RVNL that it was free to start work on the 1.8km stretch between Ambedkar bridge and Beleghata on the Bypass, removing apprehension about various objections to acquisition of land.
Work had been stalled after the Calcutta Municipal Corporation quoted Rs 7,778 per sq ft as the price of land earmarked for two metro stations. After Metro highlighted the Rs 251.01-crore demand, the mayor ruled out charging money for the land.
According to the new arrangement, RVNL can start work after paying the money required to relocate those occupying the land.
“The state government said we could start construction immediately and that it would get back to us on the price of land,” a senior official associated with the project said. “It appears that the government may not charge us the quoted amount, something we have been trying to explain to it for months.”
Sources said the government was trying to work out a “uniform structure” for all public projects after discussing the subject with different departments, including the CMC, the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority and Hidco.
The CMDA has been asked to complete shifting all underground utilities between the Ruby rotary and Ambedkar bridge by the end of September.
The civic body is required to finish shifting its water pipelines along the Joka-Majerhat section of the Joka-BBD Bag Metro by the same deadline so that RVNL can start work on the Behala Bazar, Taratala, Sakherbazar and Majerhat stations in October.
A senior RVNL official said Wednesday’s meeting was unlike any held earlier. “We wish this meeting was held months ago.”
TIMELINE TO SPEED UP STUCK PROJECTS
• Home department to ensure relocation of families in 200 hutments along Diamond Harbour Road by September
• WBSETCL to complete diversion of two 132KV power supply cables by end-September
• PWD asked to value 412 trees felled for the project in a fortnight so that the forest department can auction them