Airport link plan for Kolkata's E-W Metro

The north-south Metro is not likely to be linked to the airport. But Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) has now commissioned a study to facilitate an extension of the East-West Metro to the airport. KMRC has engaged RITES for preparing the detailed project report of the probable expansion. The funding agency for the Metro project, Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), has agreed to fund the extension, too. The decision came after a study commissioned by the transport department emphasized a mass rapid transit System (MRTS) connectivity between the airport and the rest of the city. Currently, the annual passenger handling capacity of the two airport terminals is six million. Once the integrated building becomes operational, it will jump to 20 million. While 6,000 private cars and taxis now visit the airport daily, the figure will go up to 24,000 after modernization. The MRTS can take a lot of pressure off its passenger-dispersal system. Airports in most major cities of the world are linked with an efficient MRTS. But Kolkata remains an exception.“The 6.5-km track would cost us around Rs 800 crore extra. We want the work on the airport link to begin simultaneously so that the EW-Metro attracts a higher volume of passengers when completed. On the other hand, the airport track will benefit a lot of fliers, especially those who are booked on no-frills airlines,” said a KMRC official. “The target is to complete the link by 2010, when the modernization project will be completed and the new airport terminal building will become operational,” a senior airport official said. The tracks will extend over Kestopur canal to VIP Road and cover almost the entire length of the stretch before going underground near its junction with the road heading right towards the airport. The airport station may be integrated with the underground parking lot of the new terminal.The state transport department has planned a four-lane flyover from Chitpore to the Lake Town-VIP Road crossing. The existing Circular Railway connection between Dum Dum junction and the airport may be made a part of the Metro route. Metro Rail is studying the project feasibility. “The survey will be completed next month,” said a Metro official.

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