After missing several deadlines, the much-awaited East West Metro Railway is now slated to chug out on February 13 over a 5 km truncated route connecting the city's tech hub of Salt Lake Sector V with the Yuva Bharati Krirangan, a minister said on Monday.
"It has been decided that the Metro will start its services from February 13," said Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who has over the years taken a keen interest in the project, a part of which when fully commissioned would constitute India's first under-water train line.
Railway Minister Piyush Goel is set to inaugurate the second metro line in the city. The city is presently served by a north-south metro line stretching from Dum Dum in the northern suburb to Garia in its southern outskirts.
Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited is the implementing agency of the 16.6 km East West metro project, which is technologically analogous to the Eurostar (connecting Paris and London) and bridges the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata.
It has been planned to drastically cut down travel cost and time, almost by an hour and a half.
On its full stretch, the Metro would run from Salt Lake's Sector V to Howrah Maidan. Out of the total 16.60 km, 5.8 km is an elevated corridor and 10.8 km will run underground. The 520 metre twin tunnels under the river are part of the underground stretch.
Once commissioned, one would travel more than a 10-storied building below the water surface for almost half a kilometre across the 460 metre wide Hooghly river.
Progress of the metro construction was hampered in August due to an aquifer burst in central Kolkata during the tunnel boring work.