Two of Kolkata Metro Corridors set for rejig

For the new fiscal, there’s a major change in Phase-1 launching schemes of New Garia-Airport Metro and Joka-Esplanade corridors. The original commissioning target for a short 5-km Kavi Subhas-Ruby run in 2022 now makes way for an extended 14.2-km operations till Sector V in 2024. The truncated 8-km launch of the Joka-Esplanade corridor till Taratala has also been revised for a 1-km extension till Majerhat.

For the last two years, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), the agency tasked to implement the city’s Metro projects, has been trying to complete the five stations, including a depot and stabling yard, along the Ruby crossing-Kavi Subhas section of the 32- km New Garia-Airport Metro. A similar timeline was in place for the 8.5km Joka-Taratala stretch of the 16.2km Joka-Esplanade Metro. Tracks were laid and stations are getting finishing touches as both sections have been rapidly inching closer towards completion.

But now there’s a change in plans. Feasibility studies indicate that a truncated Line 6, which will link the terminal Kavi Subhas station in Garia and join Airport, covering EM Bypass and New Town, will have meaningful ridership only if it interlocks with East-West Metro’s Sector V station at New Town’s entrance. Similarly, Line 3, which will link Joka in the city’s suburban fringes with Esplanade through Diamond Harbour Road, should join Eastern Railway’s Majerhat station for meaningful ridership. Ground situations have also prompted Metro Railway to amend Phase 1 launch of the two Metro corridors. “RVNL has managed to float tenders for communication-based train control (CBTC) signalling for the two projects recently. It’s not possible to commission the truncated sections anytime soon,” said Metro Railway general manager Manoj Joshi.

The CBTC signalling system uses telecommunication with trains running at 80kmph on automatic signals at two-and-a-halfminute frequency. The CBTC tenders for both the corridors couldn’t be floated earlier due to pandemic. Metro GM Joshi added, “Very few passengers would have used these sections and we would have landed in a similar situation like the East-West Metro, which still doesn’t have enough footfall even after the Phoolbagan extension.” Currently, the 16-km Sector V-Howrah Maidan corridor runs 6.9-km service between Sector V and Phoolbagan with barely 1,500 daily ridership. Joka-Esplanade corridor is elevated from Joka to Mominpur. This was the original Phase 1, but with Majerhat bridge collapsing in 2018, Majerhat Metro station work was stalled. The station and the viaduct along the stretch have been completed speedily since the new bridge was commissioned in 2020. Metro is now in a hurry to finish the 1km stretch till Majerhat station, instead of starting a truncated operation till Taratala.

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