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Work on E-W shelters

Construction of temporary shelters to relocate settlers holding up work on East-West Metro at Salt Lake’s Duttabad will start by the end of the week, officials said on Tuesday.

A 365m-stretch of viaduct could not be built in Duttabad since 2009 because of the settlers’ refusal to vacate the land.

“We hope to start construction of the viaduct in five months,” said Hemant Kumar Sharma, the managing director of the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), the implementing agency of the city’s most ambitious infrastructure project in recent years.

The KMRC has finalised the tender to start building temporary structures for 60 families on a 12-cottah plot nearby provided by the urban development department. “Work will start by the end of the week,” said an official. The families will later be permanently relocated to a six-storey building.

Railway officials on Tuesday met urban development minister Firhad Hakim and told him about the developments. “We have assured them of all help during relocation,” said Hakim.

Local Trinamul leaders, however, said there would be resistance from a section of settlers when relocation starts. “They can’t be shifted without proper compensation,” said a Trinamul leader.

Construction major Gammon India had pulled out of the Duttabad stretch in 2013 and demanded Rs 19 crore for losses suffered because of the government’s failure to get the land vacated. The KMRC will soon float a fresh tender for the 365m-stretch.

Work on the 14.67km rapid transit link from Sector V to Howrah Maidan had started in April 2009. The original deadline was 2013-14. The revised deadline for the Sector V-Central stretch is August 2015 and for the rest of the link, September 2016. “The first phase is likely to be operational by 2016,” said an official.