Kolkata metro commuters are in for some relief as the first phase of Kolkata Metro East-West Corridor in the city is scheduled to be inaugurated on October 24. Incidentally, on October 24th 1984, India’s first metro, located in Kolkata – the north-south route, was flagged off.
The first phase of Kolkata Metro East-West Corridor stretches 5 kilometers between Salt Lake sector-V and Salt Lake Stadium. According to a report, preparations are underway in full swing to start commercial services. The final test run for Kolkata’s Line 2 will be conducted for three days and was commenced on October 15. Apart from providing confidence to the team to go ahead with the commissioning of the line, the upcoming trial runs will help gauge the frequency of the service among others. Officials said that if they come across any glitch during the trials, they will shift the inauguration to the first or second week of November.
The first phase of East-West corridor of Kolkata Metro was originally scheduled to become operation by 2012 but problems including land acquisition, slum relocation and route alignment delayed the project to 2015. It was then further postponed till 2018 and finally 2019. On August 6, Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) paved the way for commissioning of the first phase.
According to media sources, even after the elevated section of the East-West corridor of the Kolkata Metro becomes operational, there will be uncertainty over the commissioning of the remaining underground stretch after an entire neighbourhood in Bowbazar caved in. There is still no clarity on when boring of the final 1 km stretch of tunnel will resume. It is only after the link is established that metro trains will be able to ply under the Hooghly river, becoming the first underwater tunnel that will go beneath a tributary of the Ganga river.