KOLKATA (Metro Rail News): The Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety (CMRS) is set to inspect the 5km Sector V-Salt Lake Stadium stretch of East-West Metro from July 18 amid speculations that it may not allow trains to stop at the two stations that are yet to get fire-safety nod from the state government.
The CMRS’s public safety audit will give green signal to the much-awaited truncated commercial operations of East-West Metro.
It will conduct a series of tests, starting with the three-day inspection from July 18, before compiling its safety audit
A meeting was convened at Metro Bhavan on Thursday where engineers of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), implementing agency of the 16km East-West Metro corridor, expressed their anxiety regarding the standoff with the state government over fire clearances for two of the six stations that fall on the Sector V-Stadium stretch.
KMRC has the fire services department’s nod for four stations — Sector V, Karunamoyee, Central Park and City Centre. Approvals for Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake Stadium stations were refused on June 14 on grounds that they lacked the third exit. These staircases were reportedly shown in the original plan.
KMRC has been preparing for a July commissioning, but the refusal by the state came as a bolt. While conducting its ‘safety audit CMRS will ask for fire-safety nod for all six stations. KMRC hopes the clearances will come within the next fortnight a railways official said that If the fire department gives its nod for the two stations, CMRS shouldn’t have issues.
Else, it may give partial clearance, allowing trains to stop only at the other four stations he added that in that case, the already truncated run will be cut short further and the services will run from Sector V to City Centre, which is barely 3.5km.
The two exits couldn’t be built because of encroachment at Duttabad slums. People from the slums had blocked 365m of EastWest Metro’s viaduct construction on EM Bypass for five years and CM Mamata Banerjee and Union minister Babul Supriyo had to intervene to end the impasse.
The slums run along the east of EM Bypass, where the two evacuation ways for Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake Stadium stations were supposed to come up. Weary of facing resistance for slum-dwellers again, the staircases were done away with and the plan was revised. During an inspection last Saturday, fire department officials found a Trinamool party office and other shacks on the spot.
KMRC has told the fire department that it would set up exits as and when land would be available. During a meeting last Saturday, the agency pleaded with fire minister Sujit Bose that without the clearances, CMRS, which is an independent body under ministry of civil aviation, can’t give the green signal.
During this week, as per the fire minister’s instructions, KMRC has again submitted documents to urban development department claiming “possession” of the land. On getting it, a formal request will be made to the state for help in removing the settlers. The railway official said that unless the land is freed, staircases can’t be constructed. That could take a year or more. KMRC will present its case before CMRS and seek clearance for the first phase of East-West Metro.