Trial run on the entire stretch of East-West Metro, laying of tracks on a stretch in one of the tunnels and installation of electrical and signalling equipment are some of the vital work that has been stalled because of the May 11 accident.
The accident, which triggered cracks in a number of buildings in Bowbazar and displaced more than 150 people, happened during the casting of 9 metres of a 38-metre underground shaft.
The Telegraph spoke to officials of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), implementing agency of the corridor, to find out the possible impact of the accident on the project.
KMRC officials said they had planned trial runs for the first time on the entire 16.5km stretch of East-West Metro, between Sector V and Howrah Maidan, in July.
“The tracks have been laid on the entire stretch in the Salt Lake-bound tunnel. We were planning trial runs of trains through the tunnel for the entire route. Now that has been deferred,” said a KMRC official.
“This (trial runs) would have helped us submit reports to international agencies for a safety audit. Depending on their observations, we would rectify shortcomings, if any,” he said.
The stretch between Esplanade and Sealdah does not have power connection. So, KMRC was planning to use battery-operated engines to pull the rakes on the stretch.
In the Howrah-bound tunnel, a 2.45km stretch between Sealdah and Esplanade does not have tracks.
The authorities had planned to lay the tracks after the casting of the Bowbazar shaft was over. With work on the shaft stalled, the laying of the tracks will be delayed, said officials.
“We need two to three months to lay the tracks. That has to wait till the problem is resolved," the official said.
Cross passages connect the two tunnels at multiple points for evacuation of passengers and other reasons. “If a fire breaks out in one of the tunnels, passengers evacuated from a train will be escorted to the other tunnel through cross passages,” said a KMRC official.
The stretch between Sealdah and Esplanade will have five cross passages. Work on three has been stalled following the accident.
“We had planned to install the signalling and electrical equipment on the entire stretch by January 2023. Because of the accident, we are not sure when we will be able to complete the work,” said an official.
“Between Howrah Maidan and Mahakaran, the installation inside the tunnel is complete. The work above the ground is also 80 per cent complete and will continue despite the accident. The work between Esplanade and Sealdah will suffer the most,” he said.