The impasse over construction of underground station at BBD Bag of East- West Metro has been resolved with the National Monument Authority giving its clearance. The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL) had approached the National Monument Authority to conduct a survey of the old structures particularly the old Currency Building and 198-year-old St Andrews Church, the only Scottish church in the city which was opened to public on March 8, 1818.
The three storeyed Currency Building now under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was built in 1833 when Lord William Bentinck was the Governor General. The house with Italian style was originally known as Agra Bank and later office of issue and exchange of government currency. It housed the Reserve Bank of India till 1937. There was a proposal to demolish the old structure and demolition began in mid 1990s. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) intervened and stopped demolition and later declared it a heritage structure. As clearance has been observed there will be no more hindrance in constructing the BBD Bag station.
The East West Metro connecting sector V of Salt Lake with Howrah will cover a distance of 14.67 km. There will be 12 stations of which six were elevated and six underground. There will be an underground tunnel below river Hooghly. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 6500 crore. The first phase of East-West Metro covering a distance of 9km is likely to be opened in June 2018 while the remaining 6 km will be opened in June 2019. The union railway minister Suresh Prabhu had said the project would be completed on time.
The ASI regional director has sent a letter on Wednesday to the National Monuments Authority (NMA) member-secretary regarding the clearance. We are now awaiting NMA’s nod as it will give us the no-objection certificate,” B. Dewanjee, Chief Engineer (Civil), KMRC, said.
He said a team from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur conducted the assessment and submitted its final report last week.
The NMA, functioning under the Ministry of Culture, was set up under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010. Its responsibilities include grant of permission for construction-related activities in prohibited and regulated area. The proposed station is within the prohibited 100-metre zone of the three heritage structures near the city business hub.