RITES, the railways PSU, is surveying 16 new routes for the expansion of Metro routes in and around the city. In the last Railway Budget, the then railways minister Mamata Banerjee kept the provision of carrying out extensive studies for expansion in the new routes. If the plan is implemented, the entire greater Kolkata will be linked by Metro and the oldest Metro would be biggest rail rapid transit network in the country.
The new alignments that will be surveyed by RITES include Metro double-corridor line from Santragachhi to Shalimar along Kona Expressway, Bally Halt to Chandernagore, Joka to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar (Tollygunge) via Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital.
New AC rakes have arrived in Kolkata
RITES will also carry out survey for an alignment from Joka to Diamond Harbour along Diamond Harbour Road and the double-line corridor Madhyamgram to Barrackpore along Sodepur Road and Kalyani Expressway. There will be another alignment from Barasat to Barrackpore along the state highway-II linking Barrackpore.
The survey for new Metro double line corridor also includes alignment from Basirhat to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar (Tollygunge). Kavi Subash (New Garia) via Harua and Bhangar.
The extended route of North-South metro
All round development
Mamata Banerjee, in her last Railway Budget speech, blessed Kolkata with seven brand new route surveys for extension of the city's Metro services, along with a new coach factory, dedicated exclusively to the Metro. Besides, there will be surveys on alignments from Howrah Maidan to Srirampur via Dankuni and Singur, Howrah Maidan-Belur, Howrah Maidan-Santragachhi-Dhulagarh, Joka to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar and Barrackpore to Kalyani.
"The surveys are likely to be conducted keeping in mind the links would be on viaducts and not underground since it would save cost. Two other important aspects plaguing Kolkata Metro are the shortage of coaches and rakes to run the current service and the lack of a coach mid-life habilitation unit. One such unit has been sanctioned close to the present Noapara carshed, but that will only cater to the coaches running at present. Infrastructure has to be augmented before any additional route is sanctioned," a former senior official of Kolkata Metro said.
The Railways has already set up a core committee of senior Railways officials to closely monitor the progress of all ongoing works of Kolkata Metro and for speedier completion of the planned sections, namely Noapara-Barasat via Bimanbandar, Baranagar to Barrackpore and Baranagar to Dakshineswar, Dum-Dum Airport to New Garia via Rajarhat and Joka to BBD Bag via Majerhat.
A transport revolution
As railways minister, Mamata had sanctioned Rs 11,000 crores for Kolkata Metro when she upgraded it to a full-fledged railway zone on December 29, 2010.
The Railways have already agreed in principle to take over the East-West Metro project from the state government. Railways authorities had also stated that discussions with all stakeholders of the project would be carried out soon and had asked the state government as well as the managing authority of the link to keep the Railways appraised of all important decisions regarding the project.
Kolkata Metro Network
Some of the Proposed Metro Corridors being surveyed now by RITES:
1. Santragachi - Shalimar (on Kona Expressway)
2. Bally Halt - Chandannagar
3.Joka to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar via Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital along Charial Canal and M.G Road
4. Barrackpore to Kalyani City via Kalyani Highway
5. Joka to Diamond Harbour along Diamond Harbour Road
6. Madhyamgram to Barrackpore via Sodepur Road and Kalyani Expressway
7. Barasat to Barrackpore via State Highway - II, linking Barrackpore