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PM Modi Inaugurates India’s First Underwater Metro Line

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated India’s first underwater Metro line in Kolkata and took a ride on the train from Esplanade to Howrah Maidan along with several school students. Modi also virtually inaugurated several other Metro services across the country.

The Howrah Maidan-Esplanade section underwater Metro line has the first transportation tunnel under a river in India. It passes under the Hooghly River – Kolkata and Howrah are situated on its east and west banks, respectively – and has the deepest Metro station in India at Howrah (30 m deep).

Modi metro Kolkata

Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, a total of 11.45 km is being added to the existing Kolkata Metro network– 5.4 km on the Orange Line, 4.8 km on the Green Line and 1.25 km on the Purple Line.

According to officials, from its inception in 1984 till 2014, only 27.99 km of the Metro network was functional in Kolkata. After 2014, the Metro network was expanded by 25.34 km, starting with the inauguration of the first phase of the East-West Metro from Salt Lake Sector V to Salt Lake Stadium over a 5.3 km stretch in 2020. Gradually, the Kolkata Metro extended its wings and the Salt Lake Stadium to Phoolbagan (1.67 km) and Phoolbagan to Sealdah (2.33 km) stretches were also opened for commercial service. The Noapara-Dakshineswar stretch (4.14 km) was inaugurated in 2021 and the Joka-Taratala (6.5 km) stretch on the Purple Line was inaugurated in 2022.

As per Metro authorities, 2022-2023 recorded the highest-ever Metro network expansion of 14.23 km in a single year. “It was an addition of 36 per cent to the existing network since Kolkata Metro’s inception,” an official said.

Between 1972 and 2014, an expenditure of Rs 5,981 crore was made for all Kolkata Metro projects.  From 2014 to October 2023, an expenditure of Rs 19,043 crore has been made to complete all the ongoing Metro projects in the city.

At present, the Kolkata Metro network spans a 47.93 km stretch – 32.13 km of North-South Corridor, 9.3 km of East-West Corridor and 6.5 km of Joka-Esplanade Corridor. An extension of 13.27 km has been planned. Of this, a 4.80 km stretch of East-West Metro from Howrah Maidan to Esplanade was inaugurated on Wednesday along with another extension of 1.25 km from Taratala to Majerhat and a 5.4 km stretch of New Metro Corridor from Kavi Subhas to Hemanta Mukhopadhyay.

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Let us take a look at the Metro projects inaugurated by PM Modi:

Orange Line

New Metro Corridor from Kavi Subhash to Hemanta Mukhopadhyay stretch: This 5.4 km stretch has been built at a cost of Rs 1,435 crore. The five stations on this stretch have been named after luminaries like film maestro Satyajit Ray, writer Jyotirindra Nandi, poets Sukanta Bhattacharya and Subhash Mukhopadhyay and famous singer Hemanta Mukhopadhyay.

This Metro Corridor will decongest the busy Eastern Metropolitan Bypass and reduce travel time between Kavi Subhash and Rabi Thakur More. Commuters from Howrah, Hooghly and North 24 Parganas on the Blue Line will be able to avail of the Metro services of the Orange Line with the same tokens and smart cards by just interchanging at Kavi Subhash station with the help of the integrated ticketing system.

The Metro project from New Garia (Kavi Subhash) – Airport (Biman Bandar) was sanctioned in 2010-11 as an elevated corridor at a cost of Rs 3,952 crore and the revised sanctioned cost is Rs 8,964 crore. Metro work between New Garia to the airport is under construction and the main work on the 5.4 km section from New Garia to Hemanta Mukhopadhyay has been completed with Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) authorisation on February 7, 2023, by One Train Only System. This section was inaugurated on Wednesday.

Green Line

The East-West corridor has the distinction of being the first under-river transportation tunnel in India. The passage is 520 metres long from one bank to the other and is more than 30 metres (100 feet) below the Hooghly River’s surface at its deepest points.

The 4.8-km stretch of East-West Metro from Howrah Maidan to Esplanade has been built at a cost of Rs 4,965 crore. With the opening of the 2.33 km Metro corridor from Sealdah railway station to Phoolbagan in 2002, 9.3 km of the corridor is presently operational. A 4.80 km truncated section from Howrah Maidan to Esplanade was inaugurated on Wednesday. The travel time between Sealdah and Salt Lake has now reduced to 20 minutes, as against more than an hour by road.

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Modi Metro India’s first underwater metro train. (Photo: PTI)

“The entire East-West corridor between Howrah Maidan to Salt Lake Sector-V is expected to be operational very soon, thus connecting Sealdah and Howrah railway stations, which are the busiest railway stations in India, and will provide interchange point at Esplanade with North-South Corridor,” an official said.

Once fully commissioned, this corridor will connect two major railway terminuses at Howrah and Sealdah and connect the existing North-South Metro and Joka-Esplanade Corridor at Esplanade station.

Modi metro Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of India’s first underwater metro, in Kolkata on Wednesday. (Photo: PTI)

Purple Line

While commercial services on the Joka-Taratala stretch of the Purple Line have already started, it is now going to be extended up to Majerhat. This 1.25 km extension of the Purple Line from Taratala to Majerhat was executed at a cost of Rs 525 crore. The Metro work between Joka to Esplanade is under construction and a 6.5 km section from Joka to Taratala was opened by PM Modi in 2022. A 1.25 km section from Taratala to Majerhat was inaugurated by PM Modi on Wednesday.

An expenditure of Rs 3,575 crore has been incurred in the project up to February 2024, out of which Rs 635 crore has been incurred for the state-of-the-art maintenance depot at Joka and the rest for the viaduct and stations for the completion of the Joka-Taratala section.

“Commuters of South Kolkata residing away from the main city who come to the city daily for their livelihood will be immensely benefitted. It will also help to decongest the traffic movement on busy Diamond Harbour Road connecting Kolkata with the furthest areas of South 24 Parganas,” a senior Metro official said.

Source: indianexpress

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