Kolkata, Nov 9 (SocialNews.XYZ) With completion of tunnelling between the Sealdah and Esplanade stations of the East-West Metro Corridor in Kolkata getting delayed further, officials are now looking at the possibility of running truncated services between Howrah Maidan and Esplanade. Tracks along this 3.8 km stretch have already been laid and the Howrah Maidan, Howrah Station, Mahakaran and Esplanade stations are nearing completion.
"We had hoped to complete the Sealdah-Esplanade stretch by mid-2023 and commission the entire 16.6 km stretch by the end of 2023. That will no longer be possible after the latest subsidence underneath B.B. Ganguly Street. Now, it doesn't seem that the corridor can be commissioned before mid-2024. The Howrah Maidan-Esplanade stretch will be completed well before that. We are looking at the possibility of throwing open this stretch for the benefit of commuters," a Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) official said. While Metro Railway is handling operations (between Salt Lake Sector-V and Sealdah till now), KMRC is the implementing agency of the project.
However, some additional work will be required if this stretch is to be commissioned. For one, a crossover point will have to be created beyond the Esplanade station to enable rakes to reverse for the return journey. At a moment, there is a shaft beyond the Esplanade station towards Sealdah.
"As per calculations, the Howrah Maidan - Esplanade stretch will be the most popular one. People living around Howrah Maidan and reaching Howrah station from the suburbs will be using this service to reach the city centre in Kolkata within minutes in comfort. The underwater ride across the Hooghly will be an added attraction. We had always suggested that construction start from the two ends and truncated services be started as and when the corridor progresses. Ideally, the Howrah Maidan - Esplanade stretch should have been up and running by now. This stretch will be busier that the Salt Lake Sector V - Sealdah one," an official said.
Officials, meanwhile, have not yet found a solution to the crisis at the subsidence site underneath B.B. Ganguly Street. Houses damaged due to the subsidence will also have to rebuilt of repaired and residents compensated. Meanwhile, contractors engaged by KMRC are also demanding compensation for the delay.