This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Annesha Ghosh. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Delayed And Over Rs. 1000 Cr. Costlier, The Pain In Kolkata’s Rear: The New Metro Project

More from Annesha Ghosh

By Annesha Ghosh

In any modern society, expansion of infrastructure is regarded as the most indisputable sign of progress. To a greater number of the populace of Kolkata, however, this widely-accepted notion may come across as a downright fallacy. For they know (or have been compelled to know!) that any such ‘progress’ comes at a price they may well have to endure year after year, with practically no end in sight.

Two of the much-touted under construction Metro expansion projects, that were undertaken to boost the existing Metro network in Kolkata, have now been reduced to the indignity of the proverbial white elephant–one that has become the bane of the city’s existence, particularly for residents living in East and West Kolkata.

kolkata metro 1

The East-West Metro Corridor (also known as ‘Line2’), covering a total distance of 14.67 km, purports to connect the IT township of Saltlake to Kolkata’s twin city Howrah, located across the River Hooghly. Although the physical construction had begun way back in 2009, the project –currently handled by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRC) – got stalled for years owing to land tangles, pushing up its cost to nearly Rs 6,500 crore from Rs 4,874 crore.

At the time of its inception, the deadline set for commissioning the project was the close of 2014. Claiming to have finally made headway in issues pertaining to land encroachments, Union Minister of State for Urban Development, Babul Supriyo recently stated that the first phase of the East West Metro route would finally be operational latest by June 2018 and if talks bear fruition, it could be launched even in December 2017.

Likewise, the 16.72 km ‘Line 3’ or Joka-BBD Bag Metro project has shown little progress over the past 12 months. Crucial junctures along the Diamond Harbour Road stretch, including Behala Chowrasta, Tram Depot and Ajanta Cinema have retained the impression of a miry junkyard, ever since work began on these points in 2011. Although March 2016 was set as the original deadline, during an interactive session of MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry last month, Metro Railway Chairman Shri Radhe Shyam conceded that it will take three years to complete the project once land is acquired. “We don’t know how long it will take to solve these land issues,” he added.

With the onset of monsoons, the ongoing construction of the proposed Line 2 and Line 3 of the Kolkata Metro has only compounded the woes of the commuters. Accumulation of construction material lining wide cross-section of the main roads, in different pockets of the city are a common sight now. Stretches earmarked exclusively for pedestrians have been sizably reduced.

In some cases, footpaths have disappeared into complete oblivion owing to the docking of heavy-duty construction vehicles. Moreover, forced to trek over piles of stone-chips and sand-mounds, with speeding buses racing past pedestrians, reaching from one point to another on foot has not only become more time-consuming, but also potentially fatal.

kolkata metro 3

Remarking on the sorry state of Diamond Harbour Road, which is now dotted with countless lunar crater-sized potholes, a PWD official pinned the blame on the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL)—the implementing agency of the Joka- BBD Bagh Metro project. He said the 6.9 km stretch between Joka and Behala had to bear the brunt of the Metro construction work.

What remains unanimously most taxing to those affected by the ongoing work, is the numerous route diversions that have made daily commuting no less than a nightmare. The laying of both the East-West and the Joka-B.B.D Bag Metro corridors has effected more than a dozen private and public bus routes across the metropolis, including 235,21/1,12C,SD4 and SD28 among others. One prominent connector that has suffered most number of route adjustments is the Phoolbagan intersection, a significant crossing in North East Kolkata.

In Behala, a neighbourhood in South West Kolkata, the alternate arterial route through James Long Sarani too becomes paralyzed everyday due to heavy traffic, multiplied by incoming diversions from Diamond Harbour Road. According to the State Transport department officials, around 3,000 vehicles ply over James Long Sarani every hour during peak time on a normal day. The road, however, cannot accommodate more than 2,000 vehicles an hour. Consequently, the overload triggers massive traffic congestion.

For Urvashi Basak, a first year postgraduate student of Jadavpur University, travelling to her institution has become more arduous than ever before. “Earlier, it would take me forty-five minutes to reach my University from home. Now, with the change in bus routes, the duration of the journey has doubled,” said the resident of Behala. This has, in turn, made daily commuters more vulnerable to the unruly behaviour of most of the cavalier auto drivers in the city, who refuse to ply over specific routes, leaving the commuter in the lurch.

kolkata metro 2

Although Bangalore and Chennai too had encountered similar problems regarding land encroachments and rehabilitation in the way of installing the Metro, both these cities managed to swiftly resolve their respective issues in less than a year. In Bangalore, for instance, 128 families encroaching on 1.5 acres of land at Malleswaram were rehabilitated within 10 months to make way for the Metro.

What was thus conceived to decongest numerous crammed transit pockets of Kolkata and ease the commuting hassles of lakhs of citizens has, in turn, further heightened their despair. The current logjam underlines not only the myopia of the preceding Left Front regime during which the projects were originally conceived, but also the failure of the incumbent Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in putting an end to the impasse in order to ensure a speeding up of the construction work.

The success stories of Chennai and Bangalore further highlight the flawed approach and ineffectual execution of the two ambitious Kolkata Metro projects currently underway, thereby underscoring the city’s recurring tendency of finding itself stuck in a time warp over and over again.

You must be to comment.
  1. Binny

    Metro project delayed in Kolkatta…no surprises here…Bengalis might be one of the most intellectual people of India, but they are also on of the laziest. Just look at the shabby streets of Kolkatta, even some areas of Patna are cleaner.

More from Annesha Ghosh

Similar Posts

By Debarati Sen

By Be a Bridge for Change - BBC

By Suranya

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below