Kolkata East-West metro tunnel may get completed soon by 2022, said Kolkata Metro Corporation. The project has faced several delays since it started, doubling the cost. The underwater river tunnel will partly run under the city’s iconic Hooghly river.
Manas Sarkar, the managing director at KMRC, stated that the authority is awaiting a final instalment of 200 million rupees over the next two years from the Indian Railway Board. Nearly half (48.35%) of the fund of the project was arranged by a soft loan of 41.6 billion rupees from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Once completed, the tunnel will be the first underwater river tunnel in India. The oldest metro of India started in 1984 with a North-South service. It was due to expand by 2014 but faced problems including squatters on the planned route. Earlier, the total project cost was decided to be 49 billion rupees for 14 km, but later the amount raised to 86 billion rupees for some 17 kilometres due to multiple issues.
Mr Sarkar said in an interview at his office in Kolkata, “About 40% of total transport demand will be tackled by these two metro services.”
“It will be a relief for environmental pollution and the city should be much more decongested,” he added.
The tunnel length will be 10.8 kilometres and width is 5.5 meters. Kolkata Metro East-West line will be connecting Howrah metro station and Mahakaran (iconic Writers’ Building) metro stations. Near about 900,000 people may be able to have a daily journey through the new route that will cross a 520-meter within less than a minute.
Over 30 years following an initial six-year moratorium, KMRC will repay the JICA loan. As per reports, the interest rate is between 1.2% to 1.6%. India’s Rail Ministry owns 74% of the East-West Metro project while the nation’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs owns 26% of the project.