Smriti Irani inaugurates Sealdah metro station of East-West corridor

Union Minister Smriti Irani at the inauguration of the Sealdah Metro Station of East West Metro Corridor

Union Minister Smriti Irani at the inauguration of the Sealdah Metro Station of East West Metro Corridor | Photo Credit: DEBASISH BHADURI

Union Minister Smriti Irani on Monday inaugurated the Sealdah Metro station of East-West Corridor amid allegation of Trinamool Congress that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was invited for the event only at the last moment. A number of Trinamool leaders including Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim said the Union government had not shown due respect to the Chief Minister who during her tenure as Railway Minister had envisaged the project. Trinamool MP Sudip Bandopadhyay and MLA Paresh Pal boycotted the programme on the grounds that the Chief Minister was insulted.

Ms. Irani said the 2.33-km extension of East Metro from Phoolbagan to Sealdah will help around 35,000 passengers in their daily commute. East West Metro Project is a mega infrastructure project that will connect Howrah Maidan to Sector V in Salt Lake along a 16.6-km stretch. About 10.8 km, from Howrah to Phoolbagan, is underground with parts of the tunnel passing below the river bed of Hooghly. East-West Metro services had started in phases in March 2020 and at present operate on a truncated 6.6-km stretch from Sector V to Phoolbagan with six stations.

Ms. Irani said she was not aware why the Chief Minister and members of Trinamool did not participate in the event. “I was also invited at the last moment. But for me it was important to be part of the historic occasion,” she said. Questions were also raised as to why Ms. Irani, and not Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, inaugurated the station.

In May this year, the East West Metro Project faced hiccups when seepage of water into the East West Metro tunnel was observed, and buildings in Bowbazar area of north Kolkata developed cracks.

A similar situation had developed in August 2019 when the tunnel boring machine hit an aquifer leading to ground subsidence and collapse of several buildings in the region. Work on a crucial stretch connecting the metro tunnels to Sealdah has been suspended for now.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2022 3:39:32 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/smriti-irani-inaugurates-sealdah-metro-station-of-east-west-corridor/article65627857.ece