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Inability to procure land for depot leaves RVNL unsure of Joka-BBD Bag Metro's 1st phase commencement

Kolkata: The Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) is not in a position to fix any target for commencement of the first phase of the Joka-BBD Bag Metro project, mainly because of its inability to procure the entire land for construction of the depot at Joka that is needed for keeping and maintenance of the rakes.

RVNL is keen to start the first phase of the Metro route from Joka to Taratala, which is entirely elevated.

"The two major hurdles in this elevated portion of the Metro project are the Joka depot and around 50 encroachments mainly in Behala Bazar and Behala Chowrasta area. 85 percent of the land required for construction of the depot is in our hands, but we are still unable to get the rest of the land. We are keeping in touch with the state government to clear the logjam as soon as possible," a senior official of RVNL said.

The official said that construction of the depot had started in February 2019 but it has not been able to pick up the desired pace due to non-availability of the entire land.

RVNL has already completed construction of six stations on the route, namely Joka, Thakurpukur, Sakherbazar, Behala Chowrasta, Behala Bazar and Taratala. The viaducts in the stretch have all been completed as well. The track-laying work on the 9 km stretch is going on in full swing.

The major impediments on this stretch that have been cleared include the old-age home at Joka that has been shifted and has been newly constructed near Thakurpukur.

"We are hopeful that if the remaining 15 percent land for the depot is handed over to us within a few months then we can start services from Joka to Taratala in two years," the official added.

However, the work for the rest of the portion of the project from Taratala to BBD Bag still has a lot of hurdles to be cleared and after the caving-in of Majerhat Bridge in September 2018, the work in and around Majerhat has failed to pick up pace.

"The Metro project will go underground from Majerhat station and it will be a passenger interface with suburban trains and circular railways. So this station will be of utmost importance in the project," the official said.

There will be four stations in the proposed alignment between Majerhat to Esplanade-Mominpore, Kidderpore, Victoria and Park Street.

The entire stretch from Joka to BBD Bag of 16.72 km length was sanctioned at an anticipated cost of Rs 2,619.02 crore in 2010-11.

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