Revision in design and delay on the part of Railway board to approve cost escalation, may impact the implementation schedule of the proposed Airport-New Garia Metro link in Kolkata.

The 30-km line running along the eastern fringes of the city is executed by Metro Railway, Kolkata, a wing of Indian Railways.

Originally estimated to cost Rs 3,951 crore, the project is already one year behind the scheduled deadline in 2015. Chances are high that the fund crisis may further postpone the completion schedule.

Metro Railway planned the project as an elevated corridor initially. However, a5-km leg at the airport end was recently re-designed as an underground facility due to security concerns raised by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The change in design is estimated to escalate the project cost by Rs 300-400 crore, a senior Metro Railway official, told Business Line.

“The revised plan for the project has been sent to the Railway board. We are now awaiting the board’s approval. It is likely to get approved in the Rail Budget 2013-14. However, it is too early to comment,” the official said.

AAI objections

According to Metro Railway sources, delay in finalising the route alignment held up tendering of contracts in the airport end of the project.

As AAI finally cleared the project plan, Metro Railway should get the due approval from Railway Board to award contracts.

“AAI took such a long time to clear the revised plan. Now, we will have to wait for another clearance from the Board,” the official pointed out. The sources, however, said construction work is progressing at the residual 25 km of the project.

Kolkata has one Metro line running. Two more projects — Howrah-Salt Lake and Joka-BBD Bag — are under construction.

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 27, 2012)
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