Efforts are on to start the Noapara-Dakshineswar Metro link by March to reduce the inconvenience to be faced by commuters once the Tallah bridge is shut down for demolition.
The Noapara station of the north-south Metro corridor is not of much help because the narrow approach road has left passengers averse to using it.
The Bengal government has requested the railways to finish work on the Noapara-Dakshineswar route at the earliest. “The approach road from Dunlop to the Noapara station is very narrow. We have asked the local municipal authorities to widen the road but that would take a long time. The only viable option for commuters who use BT Road is the Noapara-Dakshineswar link. So, we have requested the railways to commission the line by March,” a senior state government official said on Friday.
Railway officials said they had increased personnel and other resources for the Noapara-Dakshineswar project to meet the March deadline. Some sources said the line would be commissioned latest by June.
State government officials have said it would take more than three years to replace the 57-year-old Tallah bridge, which is a key link between Calcutta and northern suburbs and has been declared unfit for use.
Buses and trucks have been barred from plying down the bridge. Cars, too, will need alternative routes once the bridge is shut down for demolition.
“Since it’s a long-term problem, we have to find a feasible solution. At this moment, starting the Dakshineswar-Noapara link seems to be the only solution,” the state government official said.
Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) is constructing the 4km stretch which will have two stations, Baranagar and Dakshineswar.
The Barangar station, particularly, will solve problems for thousands of office-goers from Dunlop, Bonhooghly, Belghoria and other areas on the northern fringes.
Of the four kilometres of viaduct, construction of barely 300 metres is left. Work to lay tracks and install signalling and other electrical and electronic systems is on.
“Earlier, two to three teams were working on the project. Now, we have deployed five to six teams. There were three hydraulic cranes at the site before. Now, there are seven,” a railway official said.
New rakes are expected to come by March. “We’ll have eight new rakes from Integral Coach Factory in Perambore (near Chennai). If we withdraw three old rakes, there will still be five more. That will be enough to extend the Kavi Subhas-Noapara service to Dakshineswar,” a Metro official said.
The authorities used to run 107 trains till Noapara and the terminate the rest at Dum Dum. After September 26, the number was increased to 111. The count further went up to 121 in November. The daily passenger count went up from 7,200 to around 10,500 after buses were barred from the Tallah bridge.
Source: The Telegraph