With the Dakshineswar extension, Metro will now link Kolkata with the districts. The services will start from Tuesday, a day after the link’s inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
Snaking into the city’s extreme northern fringes, the lifeline will thus become a key transport link for Howrah and Hooghly residents. They can simply cross Bally bridge to come to Dakshineswar Metro station. On the other hand, in the absence of Tallah bridge, the new Baranagar station will help thousands of office-goers from Dunlop, Bonhooghly, Belghoria and other areas of the northern suburbs. No wonder, Metro officials have started calling this the best Metro project conceived by chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
As railway minister, Banerjee had unfolded a plan to construct an ambitious Rs 11,000-crore Metro Railway network to ease travel in and around the congested metropolis. But for years, the half-a-dozen ongoing Metro projects remained mired in land logjams. Even this 4.1km Dakshineswar extension of the 28km north-south corridor was saddled with encroachment issues for seven years. “This is one Metro project that the people of north Kolkata and the districts of Howrah and Hooghly have been eagerly waiting for,” a senior engineer said.
Howrah resident and LIC agent Saheb Chandra Das, who has to travel to his workplace on CR Avenue, said, “Frankly, I have always been more interested in the Dakshineswar Metro rather than the beleaguered East-West Metro which is supposed to connect Howrah with Kolkata. From Tuesday, life will become easier.”
The new Metro link will also benefit thousands from the city’s northern fringes, for whom travel has become a nightmare ever since the Tallah bridge, a key link between Kolkata and its northern fringes, was closed in September 2019 and subsequently razed. It won’t be replaced in the next two years. The bridge closure has led to traffic curbs and diversions.
“There are prolonged snarls on BT Road. Bus routes to Dum Dum Metro station from BT Road have become all the more crowded. In any case, not all buses are plying because of the pandemic. I will access the new Metro from Baranagar station,” said Sankar Chatterjee, a Dunlop resident.
Many commuters have been using the Metro through Noapara station, which isn’t easily accessible because of narrow roads and poor connectivity.
Paramita Sarkar, a hospitality employee who avails the Metro from Noapara to reach her Park Street office, said, “The roads leading to the Noapara station are full of craters. The bus stop is far from the station and autos are a nuisance. I will opt for Baranagar station instead and reach office faster.”