The Central Government has approved the Ministry of Railways’ proposal for a revised cost estimate for the construction of the Kolkata East-West Metro Corridor Project at an estimated cost of Rs 85.74 billion on Wednesday.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “(the) Cabinet decision will further ‘Ease of Living’ for my sisters and brothers of Kolkata. It will also give an impetus to local infrastructure and help commerce as well as tourism in the city.”
The project envisages the 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.
The project is being implemented by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRCL) which is a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Ministry of Railways and was set up as a special purpose vehicle (SPV). The pre-pandemic target for the completion of their project was December 2021. Efforts are, therefore, underway to minimise the impact of the pandemic on completion of the project.
The project includes immense technological challenges like tunnelling below the River Ganges that 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 the creation of efficient transit connectivity between the business district of Kolkata with the industrial city of Howrah in the west and Salt Lake City in the east through a safe, accessible and comfortable mode of public transport.
This corridor connects the three most important parts of the Kolkata Metropolitan Area, viz. Howrah, the business area of Kolkata and new settlements in Salt Lake and is going to have a significant impact on the mass rapid transport in Kolkata and the adjoining townships of Howrah and Bidhannangar. This will connect important landmarks like Howrah, Sealdah, Esplanade and Salt Lake Sector-V, which is an IT hub.
The project seeks to integrate multiple modes of transport like the metro, suburban railway, ferry services and bus transport by constructing interchange hubs. This will ensure a smooth and seamless mode of transport to millions of commuters.
Salient benefits of the project include the availability of a safe, efficient and environment-friendly transport system, reduction in commuting time, reduced fuel consumption, reduction in Capex on road infrastructure, reduction in pollution and road accidents, enhanced transit-oriented development (TOD), increase in the value of the land bank along the corridor and generation of additional revenue, job creation and incorporation of the spirit of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Vocal for Local’.