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December 17, 2013

Committee formed by WB CM proposes solution to E-W Metro logjam in 35 minutes

Committee formed by WB CM proposes solution to E-W Metro logjam in 35 minutes

The high-powered committee formed by West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee to remove obstacles in the way of infrastructure projects in town said that the feasibility of the proposed alignment of the route from Central to Howrah Maidan will be reviewed on the basis of a fresh survey. The committee needed barely 35 minutes to decide that the original route deserved a second look along with provisions for an alternative.

“The private firm contracted to build this part of the project has informally proposed a change in technology for the proposed Central station so that fewer families would need to be relocated from a one-acre area in Bowbazar. The railways have been asked to do a detailed project report with the company`s help,“ said a senior government official who was at the meeting.

He termed the decision to commission a survey `a breakthrough` brought about by Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee`s eagerness to remove the hurdles.

Afcons, the infrastructure arm of Shapoorji Pallonji, had been asked to submit its report within seven days.

East-West Metro broke its Salt Lake jinx a week ago, the first stretch of rail tracks coinciding with the government submitting the final list of 58 families who would vacate the project site in Duttabad where encroachment had prevented work for four years.

`Monday`s meeting was a big step towards ending a dispute that could have derailed the project had it dragged on,` the official said.

The committee, headed by chief secretary Sanjay Mitra , Managing Director of the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation, the principal secretaries of transport, urban development and irrigation, the commissioner of city police and senior officials of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation are also in the committee.

The government had acquired land and buildings from 90 families in that area against compensation of Rs 1,90,000 each, announced on November 15, 2011. The state government wanted the proposed Mahakaran station to be relocated to the Esplanade bus terminus instead of building it on Brabourne Road following objections by Calcutta police.

The government on Monday promised to relocate offices and warehouses from Salt Lake`s Central Park soon so that the proposed maintenance depot could be built there. The government has also agreed to look into the KMRC`s demand for reimbursement of around Rs 300 crore in value added tax.

Work along the East-West Metro route started in April 2009. The original deadline was 2013-14, which has been revised to August 2015 for the Sector V-Sealdah stretch and September 2016 for the rest.

The Panel`s Decisions

  • Concerted effort to remove hurdles in route alignment between Central and Howrah Maidan
  • KMRC and RITES asked to submit detailed project reports for old and new routes
  • Government to shift materials, warehouses and offices from Salt Lake`s Central Park soon
  • Construction of viaduct at Duttabad to resume after relocation of settlers to temporary shelters built by KMRC
  • Request for reimbursement of around Rs 300cr in VAT back in consideration