Barrackpore Metro 'detour' to Kalyani
Calcutta: Barrackpore's Metro link in the making could become Kalyani's too. The state government is said to be "actively considering" a report by engineering consultant RITES to take the Baranagar-Barrackpore Metro route through the Kalyani Expressway.
The proposed new Metro route would pass through the expressway from Nimta for around 15km and veer left towards Barrackpore through Barrackpore-Barasat Road. Sources said there would be a provision at the junction of the two roads for the tracks to take a left so that the Metro route can be extended till Kalyani.
The state government is also looking for land in Kalyani for the city's proposed second airport. The civil aviation ministry has requested land as close to Calcutta as possible for the project. "If Kalyani is selected as the site of the second airport, it will have Metro connectivity, as suggested by the civil aviation ministry," an official said.
The original Baranagar-Barrackpore Metro route sanctioned by the railway ministry was through BT Road. The state government opposed the plan on the ground that several underground utilities, including water lines for most of Calcutta, could be damaged.
The project had been given up for dead until Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Bengal to do a rethink. That was last October. The state government responded by engaging RITES to draw up an alternative route to avoid BT Road.
"Kalyani Expressway is a new road, so we don't have to worry about damaging underground utilities. Arranging land won't be much of a problem either," the official said. "BT Road and Kalyani Expressway are barely 2km apart and run almost parallel."
The state government aims to also provide last-mile connectivity from residential areas along BT Road to the proposed Metro stations along Kalyani Expressway.
Whether the Metro route will go to Kalyani Expressway, which starts at Nimta, from Noapara or Baranagar will be decided soon, the official said.
The state government will be commissioning a survey to finalise the proposal and then discuss it with the railways, sources said. A congested residential belt between Baranagar and Nimta is being seen as a potential hurdle.
"If the state government proposes including Kalyani in the route, it would practically mean starting a new project," a railway official said.
"Land acquisition will be required to take the tracks till Kalyani Expressway. As everyone knows, this is a tricky proposition and might bring uncertainty to the project again."
The railways has always maintained that a viaduct can be created over BT Road without damaging the underground utilities. But the state government possibly won't take any such risk.