East-West Metro Tunnelling Work Resumes at Bowbazar

After witnessing hurdles of aquifer, a court order and lockdown, the authorities of KMRCL have now been able to resume work along the remaining stretch between Bowbazar and Sealdah Metro Station.

Work on East-West Metro’s Bowbazar-Sealdah stretch resumed on Friday after nearly three months. Engineers of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation, the implementing agency of the project to connect Howrah Maidan with Sector V in Salt Lake, worked on the tunnel-boring machine, now under Nirmal Chunder Street in Bowbazar, so it can resume boring. “The machine will gradually pick momentum,” said a senior KMRC official.

Tunnel-boring work had stopped on March 25 following the nationwide lockdown. Workers who had returned home were brought back after Unlock 1 and their health condition was checked before allowing them to join duty on Friday, East-West officials said.

After remaining idle for more than 85 days, the tunnel boring machine, Urvi was brought into action again. Urvi, had taken up the task of completing the tunnel earlier being dug by its twin, Chandi. The tunnelling work had to be stopped after Chandi, while burrowing through the earth below Durga Pithuri Lane hit an aquifer on 31 August, last year.

The TBM Chandi became defunct after the incident while Urvi was deployed to complete the job of excavating the remaining portion, covering a length of around 1.8 km. The stretch between Bowbazar and Sealdah is the last leg of the underground tunnelling of the East-West Metro Corridor.

Following the court order on 11 February, Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL) had restored the work along the Sealdah-bound tunnel on 18 February.

The German burrower was upgraded and equipped with features to take immediate action within 60 minutes in case of any untoward incident. The KMRCL engineers and experts at that time were expecting to complete the tunnelling work along the remaining stretch of East West Metro from Bowbazar to Sealdah and back to Bowbazar, near the site of the TBM Chandi, by March 2021.

However, the countrywide lockdown in March halted the tunnelling task for over two months.The KMRCL authorities are putting their best efforts to maintain the norms while restarting full fledged work.

As Urvi is heading towards Sealdah, it is at a distance of around 700 m from its destination. “Urvi is presently near B.B Ganguly Street in Bowbazar,” informed an official of KMRCL. “The work has just been resumed and the situation will be monitored for some days before starting the work at full pace,” he added.

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