A truncated stretch of the 16.8-km Noapara-Barasat Metro corridor, between Noapara and the airport, is supposed to be operational by the end of this year.
But more than 100 encroachments between the Jessore Road and Dum Dum Cantonment stations, both under construction, have to be removed to meet the target, said Metro officials.
The encroachments are in the form of unauthorised structures — mostly shops in a market — under the elevated Circular Railway tracks. The market is locally known as HMV Bazaar.
The stalls need to be removed before work starts to demolish the elevated corridor, necessary for underground construction to start. The Metro line goes underground from Jessore Road to the airport.
“There are 127 encroachments, according to our estimate.... If they are not removed soon, we cannot start commercial service on the Noapara-airport section by the end of this year,” said a Metro official.
When The Telegraph visited the spot on Sunday afternoon, the shopkeepers were about to shut their stalls for the day.
“We have not received any written notice. But people working for the contractor have verbally asked us to shift. We are in touch with the civic body.... We need an alternative place,” said Joydev Haldar, secretary of the market.
The area is under North Dum Dum Municipality. Bidhan Biswas, chairman of the municipality, said: “We are in touch with Metro officials. The shop-owners cannot be just thrown out. An alternative space or financial help should be provided to them.”
A Metro official said they were not considering monetary compensation. “This (the plot where the market is located) is railway property. These people are squatters and they have to shift,” said an official.
Last Friday, a meeting was held at Nabanna between railway and state government officials. Railway sources said the issue of encroachments was discussed.
“The state government has promised to facilitate the Metro corridor. But that is not new. We are expecting some movement on the ground,” said a railway official.
“Work between Jessore Road and Airport stations (of the Noapara-Barasat stretch) has made rapid progress.... We are working to the best of our ability,” said Kaushik Mitra, chief public relations officer of Metro Railway.