Kolkata: Underground tunnelling work for the East-West Metro corridor is likely to take 10 more months to be completed, as a key machine has been damaged beyond repair, an international expert committee appointed by the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) said.
- Leonard John Endicott, a geotechnical expert and head of the committee, said,”The biggest challenge is that many buildings in the area are in poor condition. Our concern is the safety of the people.”
- He said that the tunnelling work, which was put on hold after one of the two tunnel boring machines (TBM) hit an aquifer on August 31 last year in Bowbazar area, will recommence in full swing in a day or two.
- With the TBM getting damaged beyond repair in the accident, the work will have to be completed with one TBM only.
- The working TBM has been moved a few rigs to check for all safety parameters put in place to ensure that there is no repeat of the previous incident.
- Two TBMs were working parallelly, boring tunnels for the up and down lines of the East-West Metro corridor.
- The expert said,”It will take around 5 months for the TBM to go up to Sealdah from Bowbazar. Thereafter, it will take three months for the TBM, which is a huge machine, to turn around.”
- He said,”It will take another two months for the machine to dig on the other side and reach up to the point where the first TBM had cut the tunnel.”
- The working TBM has been upgraded and it now has 50% more capability to ensure that the ground holds during tunnelling work, he said.
- The Calcutta High Court had on February 11 allowed resumption of tunnel-boring work for the East West corridor.
- On February 13, the 4.88km-long first phase of the East-West Metro, connecting information technology hub of Sector V in Salt Lake with Yuva Bharati Krirangan stadium, got functional.
- The entire 16.5-km stretch of the corridor – from Sector V to Howrah Maidan – is likely to be ready in two years.