India's first underwater metro project is nearing its completion but the cost of its construction has almost doubled after years of delay in completing the project, according to Bloomberg. The first underwater metro project is being constructed in Kolkata, a part of which will pass under the iconic Hoogly river on which the famous Howrah bridge is constructed. It is expected that the metro project will be completed by March 2022.
Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation is awaiting the final payment of $ 2.8 million from the Railways board, informed Manas Sarkar, Managing Director at KMRC. The work under process is being done for the East-West Metro corridor in Kolkata.
The new line is expected to carry about 9,00,000 people daily, — roughly 20% of the city’s population — and will take less than a minute to cross a 520-meter underwater tunnel. Depending on the time of day, it takes some 20 minutes to use the ferry and anywhere upward of an hour to cross the Howrah bridge.
A soft loan of 41.6 billion rupees from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is helping fund 48.5 percent of the project.
The East-West Metro corridor will pass through under the river and it will become the first such river crossing in the country. In 2019, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal gave a glimpse of India's first underwater metro in a Twitter video.
Piyush Goyal tweets project video
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal in 2019 shared a video on the underwater project saying, "The underwater train is an "example of excellent engineering. This train is a symbol of the progress of the railway in the country. With this, Kolkata residents will feel comfortable, and the country will feel proud". Take a look at the video:
The tunnel will enable the metro to travel more than a 10 storied building below the water surface for almost half a kilometre across the Hooghly river. The reinforced concrete segmental tunnel linings have a thickness of more than a quarter of a metre and are caulked with a gasket of neoprene and hydrophilic rubber to seal the tunnel from the ingress of water. This marvel of modern technology is India's first rare venture.
This project has been in progress since 2009. It is expected that this line will be fully functional in 2021. On this line, Howrah and Sealdah stations of Indian Railways will be present. Railways is expecting about 10 lakh people to use this line of Kolkata Metro by the end of 2035.