India’s First Underwater Metro: Kolkata Takes the Plunge into Urban Connectivity

In a historic moment for Indian infrastructure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the nation’s pioneering underwater metro train service in Kolkata, solidifying a landmark achievement in urban development. This cutting-edge addition to the Kolkata Metro’s East-West corridor promises to revolutionize connectivity between the twin cities of Howrah and Salt Lake, marking a significant leap forward in India’s transportation landscape.

The Technological Marvel Beneath the Hooghly River

The jewel in the crown of the Kolkata Metro’s ambitious East-West corridor is the underwater metro route, a 16.6 km stretch connecting Howrah Maidan to Esplanade. Nestled beneath the Hooghly River, the metro boasts three underground stations and an impressive 520-meter stretch under the river that takes a mere 45 seconds to traverse, showcasing remarkable engineering feats and technological advancements.

The inauguration ceremony, attended by Bengal Governor Dr. CV Ananda Bose, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, and other dignitaries, turned this achievement into a vibrant celebration. The presence of students from various schools on the inaugural metro journey added youthful exuberance to this historic occasion.

Delving into Engineering Excellence

Positioned 26 meters below the river’s surface, the underwater tunnel allows metro trains to operate a groundbreaking 16 meters beneath the riverbed, marking India’s first foray into metro trains navigating under a river. This engineering marvel is poised to alleviate traffic congestion in Kolkata significantly, providing a sustainable and efficient alternative to road transport.

The Ministry of Railways revealed that the East-West Metro route encompasses 10.8 kilometers of underground sections complemented by 5.75 kilometers of elevated tracks. This strategic combination is expected to revolutionize urban mobility in Kolkata, offering commuters a seamless and efficient mode of transportation.

Overcoming Challenges for a Greener Tomorrow

While the ambitious Kolkata Metro project faced delays, including a setback during tunnelling work in Bowbazar, the inauguration of the underwater metro service stands as a monumental achievement. Prime Minister Modi is set to inaugurate additional metro sections in Kolkata, further expanding the city’s metro network and bolstering public transportation facilities.

Initiated in 2009, with tunnelling under the Hooghly River commencing in 2017, the underwater metro project encountered challenges such as an aquifer burst and ground subsidence in Bowbazar. Despite these hurdles, the completion of this transformative project represents a giant stride toward addressing traffic congestion and air pollution, paving the way for a greener and more connected Kolkata.

Key Milestones and Future Prospects

The East-West Metro corridor’s journey began in 2009, with tunneling under the River Hooghly initiating in 2017. The completion of the project faced delays due to various challenges, including an aquifer burst and ground subsidence incidents. However, with the Salt Lake Sector V to Sealdah stretch currently operational, the underwater metro service adds another feather to Kolkata’s urban mobility cap.

Prime Minister Modi’s inauguration of additional metro sections signals promising prospects for Kolkata’s metro network, promising improved connectivity and accessibility for its residents. As the city takes the plunge into the depths of technological innovation, the underwater metro serves as a symbol of progress, addressing longstanding issues and propelling Kolkata towards a greener and more efficient urban future.

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