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Indian Real Estate News : Kolkata
City rides metro dream
Source: The Times of India Jul 13, 2010
Not much can happen in Kolkata? Wait till you hear of the rapid transport story. In five years, the city and its added areas to the north and south would be criss-crossed by Metro railway tracks, rendering public road transport - barring your trip to the grocer - obsolete.

The Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) is implementing four extremely important projects that would ensure smooth and fast travel. It will take just 30 minutes from Barrackpore and Barasat (north) and Joka (south) to the central business district, a journey that takes a couple of hours now. RVNL is a special purpose vehicle set up to undertake railway projects.

"We adopt a no-nonsense approach and ensure that projects are completed on time. Our functioning is much like that of a private organization which believes that 'time is money'. These projects were sanctioned in the railway budget of 2010-11 and we have already made a lot of progress,"a senior RVNL official in Kolkata said.

Take the 2.6 km Noapara(Dum Dum)-Baranagar extension and the 2-km Baranagar-Dakshineswar lines, which are expected to cost Rs 465 crore. RVNL took charge on March 15, 2010, and invited tenders on June 17. In the intervening months, it completed the topographical survey and soil investigation. RITES is preparing the detailed project report and officials hope to award the contract to an agency by September 30.

The 12.5-km Baranagar-Barrackpore Metro route is a Rs 2,069.60 crore project that was also sanctioned this year. RITES is expected to complete the survey and soil investigation by the end of July after which the tendering process will start. Things are moving fast. On June 24, the Bengal government was formally requested to allow the construction of Metro tracks along the median of BT Road. The government is expected to give permission to shift utilities while KMC will shift water pipelines.

The 16.72-km Joka-BBD Bag (via Majerhat) stretch is another mega project that is expected to cost Rs 2,619.02 cr. RITES will complete the project report by the end of July. Survey and soil investigation reports are expected to come in by then. RVNL has already made an alignment for 11 km between Joka and Majerhat. Copies of the drawings have been sent to the managing director of the Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) Ltd.

"On February 2, 2010, state transport secretary Sumantra Chaudhury wrote to the railways, urging it to consider using tram tracks on Diamond Harbour Road for an elevated corridor. Metro officials are in constant touch with the transport department on the matter. Once permission is granted by the state and survey is completed, the land acquisition process will start. The state government will have to transfer 14 hectares of land at Joka for construction of a depot. We have started creating awareness about this project and people are very upbeat,"the official said.

Officials feel that people should not pass any judgement on the basis of the delay that has taken place in completing the final stretch of the Tollygunge-New Garia section. "Things were done differently along that stretch. There was trouble as a large number of small contractors got involved. In our projects, composite tenders will be awarded. For every project, there would be two big contractors who would take care of everything from civil work to electrical, signalling and telecommunications. There will be no problem with co-ordination. We mean business and RITES has been engaged for Rs 8 crore to prepare the DPRs so that there are no hiccups along the way,"another RVNL official said.

The fourth project that RVNL has undertaken is the 32 km stretch from the airport to New Garia. The DPR, survey and soil investigation report for this Rs 3,951.98 crore project will be completed by RITES on August 31, 2010. On June 24, 2010, the state was approached to allow the construction of metro tracks along the median of E M Bypass. The state would also have to give permission for shift of utilities. Land acquisition would start after completion of survey.

"These are projects that should have been completed in the city at least 10 years ago. Now that work has started, we believe that all assistance will be provided by authorities and the public. If things go according to plan, Kolkata's urban transport network may be a model for others to follow,"a senior Railway Board official said.
Tag: Kolkata metro dreams, New metro route in kolkata
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