East West Metro Corridor
The proposed East-West Metro, which will run 13 km from Salt Lake to Howrah station, is set to be a reality by 2012. Around 1000 feet of the stretch, between Mahakaran (BBD Bag) and Howrah stations, will be under the Hooghly.
“Work will start in 2008 and the project will be commissioned early next decade,” said state transport secretary Sumantra Chowdhury.
A transport department official, who did not wish to be named, said the government has set 2012 as the deadline for starting the train service.
The 12 stations on the route will be Howrah, Mahakaran, Central, Bowbazar, Sealdah, Phoolbagan, Salt Lake stadium, Bengal Chemical, City Centre, Central Park, Karunamoyee and Sector V. The route will intersect the existing North-South Metro at Central.
The official said the East-West Metro may later be extended up to Ramrajatala, in Howrah. Of the 13 km, the train will run five km on elevated tracks.
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will provide Rs 4,677 crore — around half the project cost of Rs 10,000 crore — as soft loan. The rest will be borne by the central and the state governments.
The Centre signed the loan agreement with the Japan bank in March, after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s request to Union finance finance minister P. Chidambaram to accord “top priority” to the project.
The project will be executed by Calcutta Metro Railway Corporation Limited, of which transport secretary Sumantra Chowdhury is managing director. The secretary in the Union urban development ministry is ex-officio chairman. Of the eight directors, four each will be from the state and central governments.
The company, awaiting formal approval of the Centre, has started functioning from the ground floor of Writers’ Buildings. It will later shift to the building housing the office of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners.
Rites, an undertaking of the railway ministry, has started a survey work for the project.
Chowdhury had on Thursday held a meeting at Writers’ Buildings to discuss the resettlement of the 600-odd people who would have to vacate their houses or business establishments to make room for Mahakaran and Central stations.
According to the proposal, the affected people will be relocated on transport department land off Poddar Court and on AJC Bose Road.