Table of Contents
Kolkata Metro Line 2, also known as the East-West Corridor, is considered as one of the most advanced infrastructure projects in the country. Earlier, in February 2020, Railway minister Piyush Goyal had flagged-off the first phase of the Kolkata Metro East-West corridor, connecting Sector V of Salt Lake, the IT hub of the city, with the Yuva Bharati Krirangan stadium. The inaugural train zoomed-off from the Kolkata Metro station at Sector V to traverse a 4.88-km distance to the Stadium, as Goyal said that the entire 16.5-km stretch of the corridor – till Howrah Maidan – was likely to be completed in two years. Commercial services, connecting six over-ground stations – Sector V, Karunamoyee, Central Park, City Centre, Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake Stadium stations – began on February 14, 2020.
Here’s everything you need to know about Kolkata’s East-West Corridor.
Kolkata Metro stations on the East-West route
Total length: 16.6 kms, connecting the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah.
Expected project completion: Mid-2022
Unique feature: The county’s first underwater tunnel – a 520-metre twin tunnel, one east-bound and the other west-bound – will be built 30 metres below the riverbed of the Hooghly river.
|Sector V Station||Operational|
|Central Park Station||Operational|
|City Centre Station||Operational|
|Bengal Chemical Station||Operational|
|Salt Lake Stadium Station||Operational|
|Phoolbagan Station||Not yet operational|
|Sealdah Station||Not yet operational|
|Esplanade||Not yet operational|
|Mahakaran Station||Not yet operational|
|Howrah Station||Not yet operational|
|Howrah Maidan||Not yet operational|
Kolkata metro fares
Commuters using the Kolkata Metro will now have to shell out more for travelling longer distances, as it announced an increase in fares after a gap of six years, on November 26, 2019. While the minimum fare of Rs 5 was left untouched for the first two-kilometre journey, it has been increased to Rs 10 for the next three kilometres, metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said. The fare has been increased by Rs 5 for all the subsequent stages from the existing rates, Banerjee said. The new fare came into effect from December 5, 2019.
Kolkata East-West Metro tunnelling work status
Residents of Bowbazar area complained of fresh hairline cracks appearing on their houses, even as the KMRC, on February 28, 2020, sought to allay fears, saying it will not cause any damage. A few residents of the area in central Kolkata alleged that hairline cracks appeared on their houses after the tunnel boring work resumed in the last week of February 2020. “These are normal hairline cracks, these may happen sometimes. Our engineers are keeping a watch on everything. We will repair everything after the residents come back to their houses,” Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation (KMRC) general manager, administration, AK Nandy said. Residents of several dilapidated buildings have been temporarily shifted to hotels and guest houses as precautionary measure for the tunnelling work.
Underground tunnelling work for the East-West Metro corridor is likely to take 10 more months to be completed, as a key machine has been damaged beyond repair, an international expert committee appointed by the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) said, on February 21, 2020. Besides, the safety of the people living in dilapidated buildings – many of which were built over 120 years ago – in one part of the route is a cause for concern, said Leonard John Endicott, a geotechnical expert and head of the committee.
Prior to the accident, at Bowbazar area on August 31, 2019, two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were working parallelly, boring tunnels for the up and down lines of the East West Metro corridor. With the TBM getting damaged beyond repair in the accident, the work will have to be completed with one TBM only. “It will take around five months for the TBM to go up to Sealdah from Bowbazar. Thereafter, it will take three months for the TBM, which is a huge machine, to turn around. It will take another two months for the machine to dig on the other side and reach up to the point where the first TBM had cut the tunnel,” the geotechnical expert said.
The Calcutta HC, on February 11, 2020, allowed the resumption of tunnel-boring work for the city’s East-West Metro corridor, which had come to a halt after an aquifer burst in August 2019 leading to severe ground subsidence and collapse of buildings. Accepting a report by IIT-Madras, the Calcutta High Court directed the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), the executing agency for the East-West Metro corridor, to restart work between Esplanade and Sealdah stations in Bowbazar area of central Kolkata, in consultation with the institute. The division bench comprising chief justice TBN Radhakrishnan and justice Arijit Banerjee had, in September 2019, ordered the suspension of tunnelling work till further orders. Three months later, the KMRC, in view of a report prepared by its expert committee, moved the court seeking its permission to resume work. On a prayer by an NGO to get the expert committee report vetted by an independent agency, the KMRC then requested IIT-Madras to review its findings. The institute, in its report, stated that tunnelling work could be resumed.
The court was hearing a PIL seeking termination of underground drilling for metro tunnels in congested areas. The PIL has also challenged the provisions of Metro Railway (Construction of Works) Act, 1978. Two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were deployed to dig two parallel tunnels for the underground East-West Metro, when the accident in Bowbazar happened involving one of these on August 31, 2019. Several buildings in the congested area collapsed or developed cracks, leaving hundreds homeless.
Tunnels have been bored under the Hooghly river to connect the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah through the rapid transit system, spanning a length of 16.6 km from Howrah Maidan to IT hub Sector V in Salt Lake. The tunneling had begun at Howrah Maidan on April 21, 2016 and took 23 months to pass under the Hooghly river, the Burrabazar wholesale business hub and several heritage buildings in Benoy Badal Dinesh Bagh, also called the Dalhousie area, to reach Esplanade in the heart of the city, on March 22, 2018. Beth El and Magen David synagogues, St Andrews church, Writers Buildings (the secretariat), Old Telegraph office and Raj Bhawan and Esplanade Mansion, are some of the important buildings under which tunneling was done.
East-West Metro corridor accident
At least five buildings collapsed at Durga Pituri Lane and Syakra Para Lane in Bowbazar area of central Kolkata had collapsed or developed cracks, owing to an accident on August 31, 2019, when an aquifer broke during tunnel boring and water and silt gushed in, leading to severe ground subsidence in the vicinity.
Following the accident, a technical committee was set up by the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRCL), to identified damage to buildings. The panel, after studying 70 buildings, decided that 27, including the ones that had partially collapsed, had to be demolished, KMRCL general manager, administration, AK Nandy maintained. “The technical committee, which submitted its first report on Wednesday (September 18, 2019), has found another 27 buildings of those inspected to be unaffected,” Nandy stated.
The accident means that the completion of the corridor is likely to be delayed by a year. “The project was scheduled to be completed by June 2021 but we are apprehending that it may get delayed by approximately six months to one year,” a senior official of the Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation (KMRC) said, in November 2019.
Kolkata East-West metro cost
The union cabinet, on October 7, 2020, finally approved the revised cost for the East-West Metro Corridor project. The estimated completion cost is now Rs 8,575 crores and the completion date is December 2021.
Earlier, in February 2020, Railway minister Piyush Goyal had said that Rs 6,500 crores had so far been spent for the East-West Metro project.
The East-West Metro corridor has received a grant of Rs 905 crores – the highest among the five projects currently underway in Kolkata. The New Garia-NSCBI Airport link, slated to be completed by June 2021, has been allotted Rs 328 crores, while the Noapara-Barasat line has received a grant of Rs 200 crores, the metro official said, on February 5, 2020. “Depending on the progress of work, demands will be placed for additional funds, which is normally provided in the revised estimate,” he explained.
The 16.6-km Joka-BBD Bag route, connecting the south-eastern suburbs of Behala with the heart of the city, has been granted Rs 99 crores and the Barrackpore-Baranagar and Dakshineswar stretch, covering a distance of 14.5 kms, has been allotted Rs 10 crores, the official said. Funds would not be a constraint for any of the five projects, he added.
Kolkata East-West Metro impact on real estate
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) London has recognised the Kolkata East-West Metro project, which has built a twin tunnel under river Hooghly – a first of its kind in the country – as a project that has a significant impact in making people’s lives better.
“The Institution of Civil Engineers, London, UK, has recognised the Kolkata East-West Metro project of the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRCL) and selected it as one of the 200 projects across the globe, which has a significant impact in making people’s lives better,” a KMRCL statement, in September 2017, said. “It is a unique international acknowledgement for this project, amongst a handful of projects picked from India,” the statement said. KMRCL has completed construction of twin tunnels under River Hooghly, an engineering feat and the first of its kind in India.
Kolkata Metro ridership
The Kolkata East-West Metro will ferry 1 million passengers per day by 2035, a senior Railways official said, on July 24, 2019. The Metro Railway Kolkata registered its ‘highest-ever’ footfall of 9.22 lakh commuters on October 3, an official said, on October 9, 2019. It carried 49.5 lakh passengers during the Durga Puja days, from ‘Chaturthi’ to ‘Navami’ (October 2-7, 2019), spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said. The 49.5-lakh passenger count is 5.7% more than the number of people it carried in the previous year, Banerjee said. On October 15, 2018, it had carried 9.07 lakh commuters, which is the second-highest footfall in its history, the spokesperson added.
The East-West Metro project of the Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Ltd (KMRCL) has been witness to prolonged delays, for various reasons – from clearances to land acquisition issues. Completion of construction of tunnels under river Hooghly in June 2017, was a major milestone for the project, which will have a 10.8-km underground corridor, while the rest would be elevated. The first phase of the Kolkata Metro in the North-South route was commenced commercially on October 24, 1984. The route now covers 27.23 kms, from Noapara in the north to Kavi Subhash station in the southern part of the city.
When will the Kolkata Metro East-West corridor be completed?
The Kolkata Metro East-West corridor is likely to be completed by mid-2022.
Is the Kolkata East-West Metro operational?
Passenger services on the East-West Metro began on February 14, 2020. The six operational stations are Sector V, Karunamoyee, Central Park, City Centre, Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake Stadium.
What are the Kolkata East West Metro fares?
Fares on the East-West Metro corridor are as follows: Up to 2 kms = Rs 5 || 2-5 kms = Rs 10 || 5-10 kms = Rs 20 || Above 10 kms = Rs 30