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East-West dumped for rail transit

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Staff Reporter   |   Published 14.06.05, 12:00 AM

The proposed East-West Metro has been shelved in favour of the cheaper Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.

Planning and development minister Nirupam Sen said on Monday that the state government could not mobilise enough funds to implement the East-West project, even in its truncated form.

?The project will cost about Rs 6,000 crore, whereas LRT will cost Rs 2,750 crore. At this point, we?re unable to mobilise even our share of the cost. So, we are concentrating on LRT and will press the Centre to consider it,? Sen said.

He was speaking after a meeting of the Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Committee (CMPC), where major transport projects for the city were reviewed.

The government will approach the Centre to okay the proposal for obtaining a loan from Japan to implement the LRT project.

?The Japan Economic Trade Organisation will conduct a feasibility study, after which the project will be placed before the Japanese government,? the minister added.

The East-West project had initially been scheduled to run a 23-km route, from Dasnagar (Howrah) to New Town (Rajarhat). But the state government expressed its inability to contribute its share of the cost and decided on a truncated version.

In February, chief secretary Ashok Gupta asked E. Sridharan, managing director of Delhi Metro Railway Corporation, to prepare a project report on the truncated route, which would have run from Salt Lake to Howrah. But the cost for even the reduced route proved to be too much for the government.

In another development, the government decided to add another storey to the proposed underground parking lot in Laldighi. ?We had initially thought of a single-storeyed parking space. But keeping in mind that around 700 government vehicles will be parked there, we have decided to add another storey to it,? minister Sen said.

As for the proposed 60-km freeway ? linking National Highway 34 (near Barasat Bypass) and National Highway 117 (near Amta) ? the minister said the government would approach the Centre again for financing the project.

If the Centre?s assistance does not come, the government will scout for a private partner.

The proposed Rs 750-crore freeway will run from Barasat to Joka, via Rajarhat, Sonarpur and Baruipur.

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