Work for the underground Metro station at Kolkata airport has finally started after a hold-up of nearly one-and-a-half years. The work started after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) relocated a water filtration plant and a power substation that stood at the spot. Metro authorities spent nearly Rs 48 crore to shift these utilities and power cables.
The structures that existed have been razed and work has started in earnest. Very soon, work for the underground section will also begin. The diaphragm wall has been completed and slab casting has been carried out for 125m in a 500m stretch. Excavation for casting of the bottom slab is also in progress. This station will be used by trains in the Kavi Subhash-Airport (via Rajarhat) stretch, as well as those in the Noapara-Airport link of the existing north-south corridor. The station will become operational in 2021,” said Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee.
The extension of the existing Metro network to the airport is actually part of the 18.13km Noapara-Barasat link. There are two stations at Dum Dum Cantonment and Jessore Road between Noapara and the airport. Nearly 70% of the work at these stations have been completed. Work along the Noapara-Airport and Noapara-Dakshineswar (via Baranagar) stretches were held up due to encroachments. After the encroachments were removed, AAI sought funds for transfer of utilities. According to another official, these structures along the way were major infringements.
“Work at the yard adjoining the station is also progressing rapidly. Once completed, this will be the largest underground yard in the country. Initially, a surface-level station was planned at the airport, but AAI had objections and we had to amend plans extensively. Building an underground station and an adjoining yard was a challenge. The construction is under way near the old Biman Bandar station of Circular Railway, which is no longer in use. The yard itself will be 550m long and 41.6m wide with six tracks,” the official added.
Though the design of the airport station has been kept under wraps by Metro authorities, an official said it will be state-of-the-art with all modern facilities. It has still not been decided whether airport-bound passengers will be allowed to carry luggage on Metro trains or whether there would be an automatic luggage check-in facility. However, officials are planning connectivity to Terminal 2 from where aircraft take off and land now.
“Work along the Noapara-Dakshineswar link is also progressing fast. Hopefully, the stretch will be commissioned before the Puja in 2019. The Baranagar and Dakshineswar stations are green ones with all passenger amenities,” the official said.
Source: Times of India