New Delhi: Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal inaugurated and flagged off the Phase I of East-West Metro corridor of Kolkata Metro connecting Salt Lake Sector V and Salt Lake Stadium on 13 February, in Kolkata.
Goyal said that the entire East-West corridor up to Howrah Maidan will be completed by December 2021 and expressed the hope that Kolkata Metro will become the preferred mode of transport for the people of the city. Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo, and other dignitaries along with senior Railway officials were present on the occasion.
Presently, Metro services are run in Kolkata on only one North-South corridor from Noapara to Kavi Subhas stations over a length of 27.3km. This corridor was inaugurated 36 years ago in 1984.
The East-West Metro is a 16.5 km long stretch which connects Howrah on the West bank of River Hooghly with Salt Lake City on the East bank. The project is being executed by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL).
It is India’s first-ever transportation project where trains will ply under the Hooghly river. 10.8 km of the stretch is underground and 5.75 km will be on an elevated viaduct. This project will be immensely helpful in easing the traffic congestion of Kolkata and also in reducing vehicular pollution. Phase-I of East-West Metro which is a 5.3 km long stretch having 6 elevated stations. The estimated budget for Phase-I is Rs 2,431 crore out of the total project cost of Rs 8,574.98 crore.
Goyal also dedicated to the nation 140 km of railway electrification project in Katwa-Azimganj and Monigram-Nalhati sections of Howrah and Malda Divisions. The commissioning of 140 km new railway electrification project at a cost of Rs 219 crore covering Katwa-Azimganj and Monigram-Nalhati sections will help in ensuring seamless electric train operations on different routes of Eastern Railway and reducing diesel fuel consumption substantially. 83% route kilometres of Eastern Railway has now been electrified and the balance is in progress so as to achieve 100% electrification by 2021.
In keeping with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in order to promote Indian Railways as an environmentally sustainable transport system, harnessing green and clean solar energy and thus minimizing the carbon footprint is a mission area of Railways. Goyal dedicated to the nation 3 Mega Watt rooftop solar power plant at Howrah station which has been installed without incurring any capital expenditure by Railways. It will supply electricity at Rs 3.62 per unit for 25 years as against the present rate of Rs 8.50 per unit. The total cumulative revenue saving will be Rs 40 Crores over the next 25 years.
Goyal dedicated to the Nation 41.13 km of double/third line over Howrah, Malda & Sealdah Divisions. Eastern Railway has commissioned double line in Nimtita-Dhulianganga (11.38 km), Sujnipara-Nimtita (6.72 km) of Malda Division, New Alipore (1.67 km) of Sealdah Division, Lalbagh Court Road-Khagraghat Road (7.40 km) and Debipur-Rasulpur 3rd line (13.96 km) of Howrah Division at a cost of Rs 550 crores approximately. With this, the throughput of the section has increased and flexibility in operation has been enhanced. The punctuality of coaching trains has been improved due to this work by about 5%.
Goyal also flagged off Train No 13064 Balurghat Howrah Express through video link. The frequency of the train number 13063/64 Howrah-Balurghat-Howrah Intercity Express has been increased from bi-weekly to five days a week. This train fulfils the demand of people of Dakshin Dinajpur district for better connectivity with Kolkata.
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