Metro has been the biggest part of India's development in over a century and to add more into the scenario Kolkata metro is ready to take the plunge with India's first underwater metro service.
Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRCL) has excavated tunnels below the Hooghly River to set train tracks connecting Kolkata to Howrah.
Kolkata is ready to welcome this most awaited project of East West Metro service on February 13, 2020. After first line in 1984 in Kolkata, this is going to be second Metro line, it will be presented by Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal.
Facts about the India's first Underwater Metro of Kolkata
- It is set to 520 meters long tunnel under the river bed and 16.6-km long east-west stretch.
- It is 33 meters below the river bed.
- The metro tunnel structure is made up of a ring that is 1.4 meters wide.
- The diameter of the tunnel is 5.8 meters and in few months metros will start running here.
- Four-stage safeties are practiced so that the water cannot infiltrate the tunnel.
- Hydrophilic gaskets are fitted, so in case the water comes inside the tunnel the gaskets will open up.
- Separate evacuation path for fire enders and people are built to minimize the hurdle.
B Dewanjee, chief engineer (civil ), KMRCL made every point very clear about the construction and safety of people. This project is not only set for amusement but will also ease the life of Kolkata people by saving them the time they spend stuck in traffic every morning. This 520-m tunnel will take about 60 seconds. Using the ferry to pass the river takes 20 minutes or more if stuck in traffic jams.
The budget of this project is estimated touching across Rs 8,500 crores. This challenging metro line is said to be started from 2021 to public transport. And to make this project possible more than 1000 workers are working day and night in unbearable heat and under oxygen supply issues.
Route of the first underwater metro of India
This East West metro line will have six stations along the route. The elevated station of this metro line are Sector V, Karunamoyee, central park, city center, Bengal Chemical and Saltlake stadium station.
It will connect Howrah Maidan to the other side of river Hooghly a distributaries of Gangaand with Rajarahat Newtown on the north-eastern edges of the city. This new line is expected to take 9 lakh people daily, about 20% of city’s population.
Challenges while construction of the first underwater metro of Kolkata
The biggest challenge faced by the construction unit is that not one drop of water can enter the tunnel. To overcome these fear engineers have designed and installed five times swelling hydrophilic gaskets while coming in contact with the water. But still in case of emergency walkways have been built with fire alarms. A different path of fire tenders is built so there will be no collision with people evacuating and them.
Almost 150 truck mud is taken out daily to make the extent smooth.
One more challenge the KMRCL faced was to save the nearby buildings while construction because buildings are very old and of the British era, they have no safeguard and most likely to be crumbled. So, families living in the building have been shifted to the hotel until construction is completed.
The workers working here are working for 24 into 7 and face many issues like temperature always being more than 50-degree Celsius and oxygen supply issues etc.
After all these challenges and measures are taken for safety, this project is soon to be over and open up for people of Kolkata and Howrah. This is going to be the country's one of the busiest stations with vast connectivity to make people's life easier.