Railway ministry has increased the budgetary allocation of two Metro projects and extended the East West Metro line up to Haldirams from the Central Park covering an additional stretch of 5.5 km.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced Rs 90 crore for Joka-BBD Bag Metro extension line via Majerhat, while in the previous year the investment for this project stood at Rs 70 crore.
For the 32-Km long Airport-New Garia Metro extension project, the allocation was made Rs 247 crore in Thursday’s Railway budget, Rs 7 crore more than what it was announced in the previous year.
However, in two projects the budgetary allocation has been reduced. Allocation was decreased for Noapara-Barasat Metro line via Biman Bandar from Rs 140 crore to Rs 125 crore, while in case of Baranagar-Barrackpore Metro project via Dakshineswar, budgetary allocation was also reduced to Rs 55 crore from Rs 80 crore which was announced in the previous budget.
The Railway Minister has mentioned that almost 100 km of Metro works were presently underway as against existing North-South Metro that run a little over 25 Km.
The announcement for extending the existing route of East-West Metro project from Central Park to Haldirams on VIP road, a stretch of 5.5 km, has been estimated Rs 674.50 crore. Prabhu on Thursday announced that the first phase of the East-West Metro works will be completed by June 2017.
He has also announced two dedicated freight corridor for West Bengal which will come up between Kharagpur in West Midnapore and Mumbai and the other between Kharagpur and Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. The Railway Minister has announced that they will be set up through Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
The budget has announced some Bengal specific projects including 12 rail over bridge (ROB) replacing the existing level crossing and 5 subways, a new line and doubling of railway lines in some routes. The overall allotment for the various Railway projects in West Bengal has increased to Rs 3,820 crore from Rs 3,793 crore which was announced in the previous budget.
Both Howrah and Sealdah stations will get a new station each as it had been sanctioned in the budget. A new railway terminal has been sanctioned at New Garia station.
In a press conference, General Manager of Eastern and South Eastern Railways AK Goel said what was most striking feature in this year’s railway budget was no increase in the fare of local and long distance trains.
He also said South Eastern Railway is introducing paperless unreserved ticketing system in the Howrah-Kharagpur line to avoid queues. The customers have to download apps on their smart phones and book their tickets. The digital version of the ticket will help passengers to save time and provide a hassle free transportation. The Eastern Railway had already started the e-ticketing for the customers, Goel mentioned.