Five months after the inauguration of the southern extension of the city metro, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee laid the foundation stone on Saturday for extension to northern suburbs.

The first phase of the current underground rail project will connect Dakshineswar — a pilgrim spot associated with Ramakrishna Paramhans — with the southernmost parts of Kolkata.

The first phase of the project, costing cost Rs. 258 crore, comprises a 5.2-km extension over two new stations north of the existing terminal, Dum Dum. Once completed, the travel time from the southern tip to the northernmost tip is expected to be cut by half, to just an hour. Ms. Banerjee said the new stations, Baranagar and Noapara, would be named after Swami Vivekananda and Maa Sarada.