The fate of Baranagar-Barrackpore Metro project has become uncertain as the Kolkata Municipal Corporation is yet to relocate underground pipelines and hand over the land to Metro engineers to complete the project.
Mayor Sovan Chattapadhyay on Thursday told HT that even though a MoU had been signed, KMC is unsure of the time when it could provide clearance. “We signed the MoU but due to some technical difficulties we can’t issue the clearance right now,” said Chattapadhyay.
However Metro officials are expecting the clearance by January 2013. Chattapadhyay said, “I can’t say when KMC would give the clearance.”
Minister of state Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury discussed the impending Metro project with Kolkata Metro general manager Radhey Shyam on Friday. When contacted Chowdhury on Friday expressed his apprehension over the progress of the work of several Metro projects being affected due to state government’s lackadaisical approach.
“I assume the KMC is delaying the clearance because the railway department is no longer in their hands,” Adhir told HT on Friday. Presently there is only a 25-km Metro route in the city. But with successful completion of the future projects Metro route could be extended to around 112km. But the future of the project is dark, as the state government is not intervening into the difficulties hindering Metro’s route extension.
“One of our main objectives is to complete all Metro projects in the pipeline. But there are lots of problems in this BaranagarBarrackpore route as thousands of hutsmen, roadside shops are there in Dakshineswar, Bediapara and so on. There are issues of vote banks that the state government is concerned about. Above all they are not interested in dealing with the problems,” said Chowdhury.
According to some Metro officials this is another jolt for the Kolkata Metro after the cessation of construction work in the Joka-BBD Bag route the due to absence of central finance ministry’s clearance.
The Metro project of Baranagar-Barrackpore route got sanction in 2009-10. The construction work of this 20km stretch Metro route will have stations including Dum Dum, Nowapara, Baranagar, Dakshineswar and Barrackpore. But the positions established water pipelines of KMC is hindering the advancement of the second phase of construction work.
“There are water pipelines of KMC in the BaranagarBarrackpore stretch where Metro is supposed to build pillars and viaducts in their construction work. Metro is awaiting for KMC’s handover of pipelines,” said Protyush Ghosh, deputy general manager of Metro railway, Kolkata.
Metro is hoping to get the clearance from the KMC by January 2013.
Meanwhile, Metro authorities have completed the soil tests in the respective areas so it can resume the construction work as soon as it gets clearance from KMC.
According to Metro officials, construction work of the first phase of this route is going smoothly. “The first phase of work from Nowapara to Dakshineswar is going fine. However we have some problems of railway land encroachment in the area near Bediapara locality as about 100 hutmen have occupied the area,” said Ghosh.
Metro has already started working in the road-widening project on both the sides of the Barrackpore Trunk Road. The road-widening project is a requisite to complete the construction work.