The East-West Metro corridor in Kolkata is looking at completion by the middle of next year, a Union minister and project officials said on Wednesday.
“The target for completing the entire corridor is June 2022,” Hardeep Singh Puri, the Union minister of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA), told Metro. He is in Kolkata for a bypoll campaign. The ministry is a stakeholder in the project.
The ‘entire stretch’ spans across 16.6km between Sector V and Howrah Maidan and goes under the Hooghly.
The earlier deadline — December 2021 — could not be met because of the pandemic, said officials of the Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation, the implementing agency of the project.
“The revised target is June 2022. We are trying to stick to that. But two more months might be needed. If there are no fresh hurdles because of the pandemic, we will make the entire stretch operational by August next year,” said KMRC managing director Manas Sarkar.
A 7km-stretch of the corridor — between Sector V and Phoolbagan — has been operational since October last year.
A 2.3km-section, between Phoolbagan and Sealdah, will be operational by December, said officials.
“We are on course to run trains between Sealdah and Sector V by the year-end. The Sealdah station, however, will be partially operational, even when trains connect it with Salt Lake. The completion of the entire station, as envisaged by us, will take some more time,” said a KMRC official.
Puri said his ministry had this month cleared the “last instalment of Rs 344 crore” for East-West Metro. "With this disbursement, the MoHUA has completed its equity/subordinate debt obligation for the project.”
The Union cabinet had in October last year approved the completion of East-West Metro at an estimated cost of Rs 8,575 crore.
The railway ministry’s share in the cost is Rs 3,268.27 crore and the housing and urban affairs ministry’s Rs1,148.31 crore, apart from a loan of Rs 4,158.40 crore from Japan International Cooperation Agency, a release issued by the Centre had said.
The project cost calculated 12 years ago was Rs 4,874 crore.
Sarkar acknowledged the receipt of money from the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs.
“We have also received money from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. There is no dearth of money,” he said.
The project got delayed because of a land logjam.
The Bowbazar cave-in in central Kolkata while boring a tunnel delayed it further.