The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Japan push to rail under river

Calcutta, Dec. 19: The under-river ride could be coming to your city.

Two officials of the Japan Economic and Trade Organisation (Jetro) submitted a draft feasibility report to the Bengal government today that sets the train of events for the East-West Metro project rolling.

The report “concluded that the institutional arrangement for project implementation should be started from now without any interruption”. The feasibility study has found “no substantial irreversible adverse environmental or social impact arising out of the project”.

About 250 metres of the 24-km stretch from Salt Lake to Ramrajatala will be under the river while the rest will be elevated and on the surface.

The Japanese have proposed the funding pattern and put some questions before the government to which replies will have to be given in a fortnight. The final feasibility report that will follow is expected in January.

Estimated to cost Rs 4,000 crore, the East-West Metro will be financed to the extent of 64 per cent by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, 30 per cent will be equally shared by the state and the central governments and the remaining 6 per cent will have to be raised by commercial use of the land that is to be developed for the project.

Led by director-general Yutaka Miyahara and additional director-general Kohei Shiino, the Jetro team arrived here earlier this week and was closeted, along with their consultants Asia-Pacific International, with several agencies working under the state and central governments for the past three days.

The draft report said the project indicated “potential viability” and was essential in the context of the tremendous growth of the human and vehicular population, asking the state to form a corporation to oversee implementation and operation.

It sought answers to:

The methodology to be adopted for construction — whether the government intends to use internal or foreign technology. Usually, Japanese agencies insist on providing technology if they are offering the major part of the funds.

Operational details — ranging from how many trains are going to be run every day and what kind of revenue generation the government expects.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee set the ball rolling for the project on a visit to Japan.

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