Progress and challenges: East-West Metro Corridor Project nears completion

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Progress and challenges East-West Metro Corridor Project nears completion

Progress and challenges: East-West Metro Corridor Project nears completion

The East-West Metro Corridor Project, a vital infrastructure initiative aimed at enhancing transportation in Kolkata and Howrah, has reached significant milestones amidst ongoing challenges. The project, spanning a total length of 16.55 km, has seen substantial progress, with 9.3 km already commissioned.

One notable achievement is the completion of the physical work at the Howrah Metro station, which stands as a testament to modern engineering prowess. This station, with its four-tier structure, holds the distinction of being one of the deepest metro stations in the country, situated at a depth of 33 meters.

The project has been executed in phases, with Phase I witnessing commendable success. Phase IA, Phase IB, and Phase IC have been commissioned, connecting Salt Lake Sector V to Sealdah. Currently, Phase II, covering the stretch between Sealdah and Howrah Maidan, is under construction, with overall progress reaching 96%.

Funding for the project has seen a significant increase since 2014, with an average outlay of 754 crore/year compared to 236 crore/year between 2009-2014. This substantial investment underscores the government’s commitment to infrastructure development in the region.

Despite these advancements, the project has encountered various challenges leading to delays. Realignment of routes due to traffic blockades, land acquisition issues, and regulatory clearances have posed significant hurdles. Notably, obtaining clearances from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Ministry of Defence has been a time-consuming process.

Several incidents of water ingress in the Bowbazar area have also impacted the project timeline. These incidents, occurring during construction activities, have necessitated careful remediation efforts to ensure the safety and integrity of the infrastructure.

To mitigate delays and ensure timely completion, the government has undertaken several measures. These include regular monitoring at the highest levels, addressing inter-ministerial issues, and implementing transparent systems such as web-based monitoring portals.

The East-West Metro Corridor Project promises a host of benefits upon completion. It is expected to alleviate transportation challenges in Kolkata and Howrah, reducing traffic congestion and environmental pollution. Interchange facilities at key stations will enhance connectivity, promoting regional economic growth and improving the urban environment.

Notable features of the corridor include its status as the first transportation tunnel under the Hooghly River, connecting major terminals such as Howrah and Sealdah. Additionally, innovative crowd management measures have been implemented to ensure passenger safety and convenience.

The design of metro stations along the corridor prioritizes ease of access and universal accessibility. Multiple entrances, escalators, lifts, and clear signage are provided to facilitate seamless passenger movement.

As the East-West Metro Corridor Project nears completion, it stands as a transformative endeavor set to redefine urban transportation in Kolkata and Howrah. Despite challenges, the project represents a significant step towards a more connected, sustainable future for the region.

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