The Metro depot at Joka, which holds the key to running Joka-BBD Bag line’s truncated services to Taratala, has been given a go ahead by the Railway Board. The Rs. 373 Crore Joka Depot Project is being constructed on 24.5 Hectares of Land, 15% of which is yet to be acquired by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL).
RVNL has been preparing the site for the depot construction by developing the ground and building walls. Work on acquiring the rest of the depot land will run parallel to the constructions, including multiple sheds and structures, such as lifting bays, workshops and coach washing plants, setting up of electrical connections, installation of tracks and commissioning of machinery and plant for the Metro car depot.
Once the depot’s infrastructure is ready, the machinery for the maintenance of the rolling stock or rakes can be installed. Rolling stock can’t be brought in till the facility was ready, said a RVNL official, adding it took nearly three years to build a depot and a yard.
Earlier, the Joka-BBD Bag Metro was supposed to run services from Joka to Majerhat in the first phase. But with the construction of the Majerhat station being pushed back following the Majerhat bridge collapose, Metro Railway decided to run the first phase from Joka to Taratala by end of 2021 and to extend services, depending on the work.
The Railway Board recently gave the nod to build a viaduct till Mominpore, from where the tracks will go underground. In this context, RVNL on Monday clarified Rs 450.2 crore had been budgeted for in the pink book of 2020-21.
It clarified the ministry of railways never said anything about scrapping the project for the delay. The ministry last year sanctioned the proposal for material modification for taking the Metro underground. RVNL clarified Metro projects in Kolkata was funded by the Centre, unlike that in other cities, where the cost was shared by the state and Centre. “We are looking forward to fast track the completion of the projects…” said the RVNL statement.