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More lifts, escalators at Metro

Four more Metro Railway stations will get lifts and five stations, escalators.

The lifts — connecting the road surface to the ticketing zone, and from there to the platform level — will be installed at Dum Dum, Shyambazar and Esplanade stations. At Tollygunge, the lifts will connect the ticketing zone to the basement where a passenger has to get down to reach the platform to catch north-bound trains, said a Metro official.

The escalators will be installed at Belgachhia, Maidan, Jatin Das Park, Kalighat and Rabindra Sarobar to link the ticketing zones with the entry/exit. These stations did not have escalators between the ticketing zones and the road level.

The lifts, unlike the ones at the overground stations between Kudghat and Birji, will be manned by operators, who will let in only physically challenged and elderly commuters.

The lifts are likely to be installed by the end of the year.

“Time and again we have received requests for lifts and escalators. We did a survey and found the space needed to install elevators at Dum Dum, Shyambazar, Esplanade and Tollygunge,” said a Metro official.

Metro had earlier reported that elevators installed at five of the six overground stations between Kudghat (Netaji) and New Garia (Kavi Subhash) often do not work.

Officials had said that the lifts were snag-prone and often broke down because of overloading. “The new lifts will always have operators, who will let in only physically challenged and elderly people,” said an official.

Commuters have welcomed the idea. “I avoid the Metro rides because I can’t use the stairs to get down from entry to the ticketing zone. Once the lifts are installed, I will no longer face the problem,” said Sanjay Banerjee, 73, a Behala resident who also has a flat in Shyambazar.

Metro officials said all 15 underground stations — between Belgachhia and Rabindra Sarobar — will have escalators between the platforms and the road level by Puja.

The underground stations have escalators to reach the platform from the ticketing zone. But only 10 have escalators between the ticketing zone and the road level.

“The installation of the escalators tops our list of priorities. Work on the installation is likely to begin in two-three months,” said an official.

Of the five stations that do not have escalators between the ticketing zone and the road level, the authorities have received the maximum number of complaints about Kalighat and Belgachhia.

“At the two stations, which are among the most crowded, the ticket counters are at a greater depth from the entry level than at the other stations,” said a Metro official.

Metro has reported wide-spread complaints from commuters that escalators often did not function at Shyambazar, Netaji Bhavan, MG Road, Netaji and Masterda Surya Sen stations.

“At Netaji station, the escalators are often turned off in the lean hours,” said a commuter who regularly takes a train from Netaji.

The escalator connecting New Garia Halt (on the suburban Sealdah South line) to New Garia Metro station, too, does not function on most days. “Outsiders often press the emergency button and turn off the escalator so they could walk in the opposite direction. This causes snags,” said an official.

Metro officials, however, said they would ensure that the escalators would run without a glitch as part of the upgrade. “All machines are glitch-prone but we will ensure that they undergo regular maintenance so the passengers are not inconvenienced,” said the official.