Kolkata, June 4 (IANS) Plagued by delays caused by land acquisition, slum relocation and route alignment issues, the project cost of the Kolkata East West Metro has now shot up 1.85 times over the original estimate of Rs 4,875.85 crore, officials said here on Saturday.
The 16.6 km long metro, part of which passes under the Hooghly river – the first such river crossing in the country, is now estimated to cost Rs 8996.96 crore, according to authorities of the implementing agency Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited.
“The revised cost of the two-phase project is Rs 8996.96 crore, up from around Rs 4.900 crore, Rs 4875.85 crore – to be exact,” KMRC managing director Satish Kumar told media persons here.
The original project cost was sanctioned on July 30, 2008, when the KMRC was registered.
Kumar said the first phase of the project covering 9.4 km and connecting the IT hub of Salt Lake Sector V with Sealdah station, is expected to be completed by June 2018.
The target date for completion of the second phase, traversing a distance of 7.2 km and connecting Sealdah with Howrah Maidan, is August 2019.
The Metro project – connecting two of the world’s busiest railway stations Sealdah and Howrah – was originally slated to be operational by 2012, but the date was later pushed back to October, 2014, and then to 2015.
Over 50 percent of the work in phase 1 and six percent in phase two has been completed.
The first phase had run into problems at Duttabad in Salt Lake after several of the slum dwellers refused relocation, but the hurdle has now been cleared and work was in progress for constructing permanent rehabilitation centres for them.
In the second phase, problems had cropped up with regard to the route running close to heritage buildings like Raj Bhavan. The route also fell under the blue zone of the army.
“Now we have gone for a realignment between Mahakaran and Sealdah stations. This has moved the route further from the heritage structure. And it now falls under the area earmarked as yellow zone by the army.
“We have applied for the necessary permissions from the Eastern Command and the Archaeological Survey of India. We think now there shouldn’t be any problem,” said Kumar.
The realignment cost an additional Rs 780 crore.
Also, relocation of some shops of Sri Market in Howrah was also on.
He said the Sealdah station will be completed by December 2017.
In line with the Make In India initiative of the central government, the tender for procurement of 84 coaches – 14 cars with six coaches in each – was awarded to Bharat Earth Movers Limited in February this year. AThe total cost would be Rs 900 crore.
“The rakes will start coming by September next year. Hopefully, if we can reduce the timing, then we can start the trial run earlier. And then the first phase can be completed before schedule,” he said.
The project has a total elevated portion of 5.8 km, while the underground part covers 10.8 km. The entire phase two runs underground.
After the realignment, the projected daily passenger load is expected to go up to seven lakh in 2020, 8.10 lakh in 2025 and nine lakh in 2035. The total number of stations is 12 – six elevated, six underground.
In phase one, the authorities have completed entire twin tunneling of 2.73 km upto Sealdah and construction of elevated and underground stations are in progress.
A salient feature of the project lies in the fact that it is the first metro in India under a river. The crown of tunnel below water level of Hooghly will be 26 m and the length of river crossing around 520 m.
“We have started first of the twin tunnels at Howrah Maidan from April, and this tunnel will cross river Hooghly at a depth of 30 m from ground level where depth of water is 13 m. This unique tunnel of continuous drive of 2.9 km will break through at Mahakaran station in June, 2017,” said Kumar.