Four sections of crucial Kolkata Metro links likely to be operational in two years – ET RealEstate

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KOLKATA: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s vision of snarl-free city commute via multiple Metro links in two years seems to be matching RVNL’s deadlines. At least four sections of some crucial Metro corridors are likely to be operational within the above time frame.

Now that the Majerhat bridge construction is out of the way, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) is trying to expedite construction of Phase 1 or the 8.5km Joka-Taratala stretch. If all goes well, the truncated stretch will commissioned by 2021 end.

Simultaneously, work is being speedily executed for Phase 2 or the 2km Taratala-Mominpur section so that commuters could use the Metro from Joka to Mominpur by December 2022. “This Metro corridor is Mamata Banerjee’s pet project. She had flagged it in July 2011 and conceived it when she was railway minister in 2009-10,” a senior RVNL official said.

The Joka-Esplanade Metro route running alongside the bridge posed a challenge for the Majerhat bridge construction, especially since the initial design of the bridge, which was made 28m wide, overlapped with the alignment Metro. Even after the issue was sorted out and bridge’s width reduced to 22m and its central line shifted to make room for the Metro station’s pillars, PWD had asked RVNL to limit construction till the pillars because the entry and exits of the Majerhat station “infringed” on the new bridge. The Metro station construction started last month with the foundation work.

Construction of the Metro four pillars adjacent the bridge started in February, this year. RVNL chose to engage SP Singla, the Haryana-based company constructing Majerhat bridge, to build the piers next to the bridge “to avoid any dispute.”

RVNL is also trying very hard to complete the truncated Ruby section of the New Garia-Airport Metro by December 2021. The 5km stretch between the terminal Kavi Subhas station and the Ruby crossing (Hemanta Mukherjee station) is currently undergoing ballast-less track laying.

Finally, and the most imminent Metro project: The 4km extension to Dakshineswar that is awaiting an inspection for the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS). The Dakshineswar Metro is likely to be operational next month.

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Cabinet approves revised cost for Kolkata East-West metro corridor project – ET RealEstate

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved revised cost for Kolkata East West Metro Corridor Project for Kolkata city and surrounding urban areas, Union minister Piyush Goyal said.

Estimated completion cost of the project is Rs 8,575 crore and the target date of completion is December, 2021.

The project envisages construction of a metro corridor between Salt Lake Sector-V to Howrah Maidan in West Bengal for a total route length of 16.6 km, Goyal said while briefing reporters on the Cabinet decision.

According to an official statement, the project will reduce commuting time and fuel consumption, reduce capex on road infrastructure and ease traffic in Kolkata.

The project is being implemented by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL) which is a central public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Railways set up as a special purpose vehicle.

The pre-pandemic target for completion of their project was December, 2021.

The project includes immense technological challenges like tunnel below river Ganga which is the first transportation tunnel in India under any major river as well as Howrah station which is one of the deepest Metro stations in India.

The mega project envisions creation of an efficient transit connectivity between business district of Kolkata with industrial city of Howrah in west and Salt Lake City in east through a safe, accessible and comfortable mode of public transport.

Since this corridor connects three most important parts of the Kolkata Metropolitan area — Howrah, business area of Kolkata and new settlements in Salt Lake — and is expected it is going to revolutionise the mass rapid transport in Kolkata and adjoining Howrah and Bidhanangar.

This will connect important landmarks like Howrah, Sealdah, Esplanade and Salt Lake Sector-V which is an IT hub.

It will integrate multiple modes of transport like the Metro, Sub-urban Railways, ferry and bus transport by constructing interchange hubs. This will ensure smooth and seamless mode of transport to lakhs of daily commuters.

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East-West Kolkata metro renews flat contracts for Bowbazar evacuees – ET RealEstate

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KOLKATA: The East-West Metro authorities have started renewing the 11-month rental agreements for flats occupied by families displaced in the tunnelling accident in Bowbazar. A year after the disaster, the evacuees are now trying to settle into their new homes, lamenting the loss of their ancestral properties in Bowbazar.

On August 31 last year, around 700 people had to be shifted out of their homes after the tunnel boring machine hit an aquifer, leading to large-scale subsidence and build-ings crumbling.

At present, 332 of the Bowbazar residents are staying in 82 rented flats, most in east Kolkata. Among them is Jayanta Seal, whose house on 13A, Durga Pithuri Lane, was reduced to debris. “I don’t even want to be reminded of that afternoon. Our old home, with all its antique furniture, is gone. It is impossible to come to terms with the loss,” Seal said. The family now lives in a 2BHK flat in Phoolbagan. The rent is being paid by ITD ITD-Cementation, the company contracted to build the last leg of the underground tunnels between Esplanade and Sealdah.

Soumen Sengupta, assistant general manager, ITD ITD Cementation, said, “The rental leases for 11 months are ending one by one and we are renewing them for another 11 months. The dates of renewal are different since the families were shifted out of hotels between mid-September and end-December last year.”

Ground Zero of the disaster, Durga Pithuri Lane, is now an open space. The 27 buildings there had either collapsed or were razed for safety. Now, a shaft for retrieving the two tunnel borers is being built there.

Chandi, the TBM that was digging the west-bound tunnel, has been lying defunct around 12m below the ground after the accident. Both Chandi and its twin, Urvi, digging the east-bound tunnel to Sealdah, will be pulled out of the 22m-deep, 40m-long and 15m-wide retrieval shaft and Urvi will turn around to build the rest of the west-bound tunnel till Durga Pithuri Lane.

All this should take six months or more and flats will be built for the 332 people currently housed in rented accommodations. After repairs, 372 people had been taken back to 26 houses in Bowbazar.

“We are in touch with the families and will start visiting them once the pandemic ends,” Sengupta said.

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Kolkata: Land acquisition process starts for Joka-Esplanade Metro – ET RealEstate

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KOLKATA: The process of land acquisition for the underground section of the Joka-Esplanade Metro has started. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), the agency tasked with implementing the city’s Metro projects, has just completed a joint land survey with Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).

It will start issuing notifications under the Metro Railway (Construction of Works) Act 1978 to acquire parcels along a 1.5km stretch between Mominpore and Ekbalpore.

The land is essentially being acquired for a 400m ramp from the elevated Mominpore station and till the start of the underground tunnels at the DH Road-National Library Avenue crossing, as well as the four entry points to Kiddepore station that will come up near Alipore Bodyguard Lines.

Total length of the underground tunnels is 2.8km. But much of the stretch passes through land belonging to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). RVNL already has MoD’s nod for using Army’s land. Now it needs to acquire property belonging to other organizations and some private individuals as well.

The list of these project-affected-persons (PAPs) and organizations was prepared after a joint survey with KMC. It includes a few shopowners and organizations like the Nepal Consulate, CMRI hospital, Kolkata Police, St Thomas School, St Teresa’s School and Bengal’s land reforms and PWD departments.

An RVNL official said, “These are small pockets like a part of the courtyard inside CMRI hospital for the ramp or the front side of St Teresa’s School.” A part of St Thomas’ School will also be used for the station’s entry. RVNL and KMC officials recently met the school authorities to get them on board before notifying the acquisition order.

Dialogues are being initiated with the Nepal Consulate and the individuals who need to give up shops in the area. Getting possession of land from government agencies like Kolkata Police and the Bengal government will be a mere formality, officials said.

RVNL has the permission to use Army land for Victoria Memorial and Park Street stations. The 14.35km Joka-Esplanade Metro converges at Esplanade where a hub is coming up for three corridors. The existing north-south line already has its station at Esplanade. The upcoming East-West metro station is currently being built.

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