Kolkata: Even as another railway budget approaches, there seems to be no end to the hurdles faced by the ongoing Metro projects in Kolkata that are directly under the Union railway ministry.
An inspection by Metro Railway has revealed that even after four years, none of the city’s various Metro projects have even reached the midway stage, mainly because of lack of co-ordination between various government agencies. Politics has also played a role. These Metro links were all announced by Mamata Banerjee when she was the railway minister. After she took over as the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata put her foot down and refused to help the railways in removing encroachment from the Metro routes through which these networks will pass. In many cases, the encroached land belongs to the railways. Civic bodies such as the Kolkata Municipal Corporation have also refused to help by relocating underground utilities.
“The projects should have been completed by now. Funds aren’t a problem but lack of will is. We can’t even ask for more funds as we aren’t sure whether we will be able to spend them. One of the most important Metro projects is the one between Joka and BBD Bag. This 18.72-km stretch was sanctioned in 2010-11. The foundation stone was laid by the President and it was accorded the status of a national project. In 2012-13, the Joka-Diamond Park stretch was added. The estimated cost of these projects is Rs 2,913.51 crore and the implementing agency is Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL). The main problem for the Joka-BBD Bag link has been non-acquisition of land. RVNL has still not got land for the car shed and is facing hurdles with other government departments over whose property the tracks are to pass.