The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the railway ministry’s proposal for a revised cost estimate for the construction of the Kolkata East-West Metro Corridor project at ₹8,575 crore. The project is expected to ease congestion, improve urban connectivity, and offer cleaner mobility solution for daily commuters in Kolkata.
The 16.6km corridor will have 12 stations between Salt Lake Sector-V and Howrah Maidan. The project will be implemented by a special purpose vehicle, Kolkata Metro Rail Corp. Ltd, set up under the railway ministry.
The project was approved 12 years ago, with a proposed investment of ₹4,000 crore, railway minister Piyush Goyal said. However, it was stuck due to delays in land acquisition, according to the minister. The work began in 2015, in coordination with the state and central governments, he said. “This project will take mass rapid transport to new heights in Kolkata and will be completed in 14-15 months,” said Goyal.
The pre-pandemic target for completion of the project was December 2021, according to the ministry. “Efforts are being taken to minimize the impact of the pandemic on the completion of the project, which includes immense technological challenges such as a tunnel below the river Ganges, which is the first transportation tunnel in India under any major river, as well as the Howrah station,” it said.
The train sets are being made by state-owned BEML Ltd, in line with the government’s vision of a self reliant India, the minister said.
The project will create connectivity between the business district of Kolkata with the industrial city of Howrah in the west and Salt Lake in the east.
Meanwhile, weeks after India and Japan concluded a logistics support pact aimed at closer cooperation between the two militaries, New Delhi and Tokyo on Wednesday said they had finalized a cyber security pact as they recognized the need for robust and resilient digital and cyber systems.
In a joint statement, the two countries “welcomed the finalization of the text of the cybersecurity agreement. The agreement promotes cooperation in capacity building, research and development, security and resilience in the areas of critical information infrastructure, 5G, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence, among others”.
New Delhi had cleared the terms of agreement at a cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar. Two people familiar with the development said India was in consultations with Japan and Australia on 5G technology and related safety concerns.
According to news reports, Australia and Japan had barred Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from participating in their telecom networks and services in 2018.