Railway stake in East West Metro may fast track completion

CPI(M)-led West Bengal govt, which was earlier not keen to work with the Railways, a portfolio held by Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has now agreed to go along with it for the Rs 4,874-crore project.

Last Updated: Nov 28, 2010, 13:53 PM IST

Kolkata: With the Railways set to take a
stake in the East West Metro Railway, the project is likely to
get a fillip, helping its early completion, even as another
metro task here is getting delayed due to alleged failure of
the state government to transfer land.

The CPI (M)-led West Bengal government, which was earlier not keen to work with the Railways, a portfolio held by Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, has now agreed to
go along with it for the Rs 4,874-crore project.

The East West Metro project is a 50:50 joint venture
between the Union Urban Development Ministry and the West
Bengal government and is scheduled to be commissioned in 2014.

"We have no problem as long as the project is completed,"
West Bengal transport minister Ranjit Kundu said, who,
however, in the case of Joka-BBD Bagh metro railway project,
argued the transfer of land cannot be done in 1 day.

"They should understand that there is a procedure for
such things and it takes time," he said.

Talking about the East West Metro, Kundu said the
Railways is likely to take the stake from the Union Urban
Development Ministry.

Kundu said correspondence has begun between the Union
Urban Development Ministry and the state`s chief secretary.

"The chief secretary will give his reply after
consultations with me," the minister told a news agency.

The joint venture project, known as Kolkata Metro Rail
Corporation (KMRC), is being funded by the Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Kundu said that there had been some problems with the
Railways over terminals of KMRC below Sealdah and Howrah
stations. He expressed hope that with the Railways` interest in the
project, these issues would be sorted out easily.

"We want this project to be completed soon as it will
help a large number of people," he said.

The project would run from Sector V in Salt Lake to
Howrah Maidan passing under the Ganga through a tunnel.

Of the total 14.67 km length, 8.90 km would be
underground and the rest overground and all the coaches would
be air-conditioned.

However, work on the Metro Railway`s Joka-BBD Bag project
is yet to start, but wrangling between the Railways and state
transport department over transfer of land has already
erupted.

The 16.72-km elevated railway project is supposed to
be constructed over Calcutta Tramways Company land along
the arterial Diamond Harbour Road in the southern part.

But the land for the project, foundation stone for
which was laid by President Prathibha Patil on September 22,
is yet to be transferred to the Railways.

"We have agreed in principle to transfer the CTC land
to the Metro Railway authorities," Transport minister Ranjit
Kundu said.

Asked about the alleged delay in actual transfer, he
said, "They will have to sit with the CTC authorities and
discuss the modalities of transfer."

A senior official of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, which is the
implementing agency of the project, said that despite having
got "in principle" clearance from the transport department,
they were yet to get the land from CTC.

"We wrote to the managing director of CTC, but we were
told that they need clear cut instructions from the transport
department for handing over the land," the official said.

PTI