Kolkata: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the funding agency of the East-West Metro project, has approved Rs 800 crore for the 1.878km extra length of the corridor on its realigned route.
The latest decision is a marked deviation from JICA’s earlier stand, when the agency had raised serious doubt over the viability of the project that got mired in realignment knot. With multiple government agencies working together to remove the stumbling blocks, Jica then carried out a study to ascertain the viability of the new route. It was very satisfied with the cost-benefit analysis that promised a much higher ridership than that of earlier alignment.
According to the previous alignment, the corridor was supposed run through Bowbazar. But now, the alignment will move via Esplanade. The change in route, along with delay in implementation, has pushed up the project cost to 8,996 crore from Rs 4,874 crore.
When the project had kicked off, JICA’s share — 46% of the total cost — came to around Rs 2,253 crore. But now, the agency will shell out around Rs 4,138 crore for the project.
In 2015, the state government had engaged RITES to carry out a study on the realignment. The Railways had approved the new route in 2016. The project gained momentum thereafter, with the Railways allocating handsomely to East-West Metro in the Union Budget.
Meanwhile, Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) has awarded the Rs 484-crore contract to Afcons for constructing the 700metre stretch between Makakaran and Esplanade. The TBMs, which are currently moving below Brabourne Road, will now go upto the Esplanade shaft.