Indian Railways connectivity gets big boost in poll-bound West Bengal; Check details

Indian Railways connectivity in West Bengal: Metro and railway infrastructure in poll-bound West Bengal got a shot in the arm with the inauguration of several projects by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February end, which, together with the rail link being built to Sikkim, represent an investment of Rs 6,636-crore in the state.

The inauguration of the 4.1-km Noapara-Dakhineswar stretch, a part of the Airport-Dakhineswar Metro project in Kolkata, happened after a delay of eight years. While the Airport-Noapara stretch started operations in 2013, the delay in building the stretch between Noapara and Dakhineswar saw project cost more than double from Rs 227.53 crore to Rs 464 crore. The new Metro stretch—with which work has been completed on the 31.3-km North-South Corridor (Dakhineswar-Kavi Subhash)—would benefit the people of Hooghly, Howrah and North 24 Parganas, besides Kolkata.

However, the completion of the East-West corridor is still mired in uncertainties. A more than 100% cost escalation in Metro projects, from Rs 4,876 cr to above Rs 9,000 crore, has strained its finances, forcing the government to inaugurate small stretches over time.

The railway projects inaugurated in February are a part of the Union government’s effort to boost connectivity in West Bengal, given its significance for trade links with the North East and the neighbouring countries. The laying of a third line for the Kalaikunda-Jhargram link, under the Kharagpur-Adityapur section, at a cost of Rs 544 crore will reduce delays on the Howrah-Mumbai route.

The doubling of the 14.60-km long Azimganj-Khagraghat Road line at a cost of Rs 239.38 crore will ensure better connectivity to north Bengal and the North East, besides reducing congestion in Murshidabad district.

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