Govt wants to scrap BT Road Metro route
Barrackpore: The state government has submitted a report to the railway board that suggests the Barrackpore Metro link be taken through Kalyani Expressway instead of BT Road and a stretch be built underground.
The government made the suggestions in its survey report prepared by engineering consultancy company RITES.
Diverting the Baranagar-Barrackpore route is possible, the company has said in the report.
Between Noapara and Kalyani Expressway, the tracks should pass underground for about 2km, which is a congested residential area, RITES said in the report.
Tracks on the ground would mean demolishing several residential buildings. The proposed underground stretch is between Noapara and Nimta, an official said.
But it would mean cost escalation for the project that hasn't taken off in seven years.
"Building a kilometre of tracks on the ground would cost almost Rs 175 crore and under the ground Rs 400 crore," a railway ministry official said.
"A 2km stretch would mean an additional Rs 450 crore. We are considering the report and calculating the additional cost. We'll discuss the matter with the state government... if the route were to be diverted who would bear the extra cost?"
The official said underground utilities that could be damaged will have to be shifted.
The government is opposed to the Metro project on BT Road for fear of underground water pipelines getting damaged.
The RITES report has suggested moving the Metro tracks to the east of BT Road along Kalyani Expressway where there's sparse population.
But the project there would send real estate prices soaring and it would benefit landowners.
"The purpose of a Metro link is to provide smooth and fast transport option to people. If the route moves through a thinly populated area, the social purpose of Metro is defeated," another railway ministry official said.
The Mamata Banerjee government has opposed the construction of tracks along the densely populated BT Road citing damage to underground pipelines.
But more people would benefit from a mass rapid transit system along BT Road, which sees a large volume of traffic almost always.
Several major housing projects took off in the BT Road area after the Metro project had been announced. A change in plan will affect them.
The railways have maintained that a viaduct can be created over BT Road without damaging the underground utilities. There are six water lines under BT Road connecting Palta waterworks to the Tallah reservoir.
The network comprises pipes of various diameters - 42, 48, 60, 62, 64 and 72 inches in diameter.
The implementing agency, Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), for the Rs 2,700-crore project sanctioned in 2011 had got the area surveyed by a French consultancy company.
The company had suggested replacing a portion of one the water pipelines, an RVNL official said.
But the state government is not ready to take any such risk.
If sanctioned, the proposed route would move along the expressway from Nimta for around 15km before turning left towards Barrackpore through the Barrackpore-Barasat Road. Railway officials said land would have to be acquired for the new route.