On Sunday, the Phoolbagan Metro Station of Kolkata’s East West Metro corridor was virtually inaugurated by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, as a Durga Puja gift for the Kolkata residents. Besides, the first train was also flagged off by the minister from the new metro station to Salt Lake Sector-V. Goyal was quoted in a PTI report saying that the entire stretch of this 16.55 km long corridor between Sector-V and Howrah Maidan is likely to be completed by December 2021. During the inauguration event, the Railway Minister said that after suffering delays due to several issues, the project has been fast-tracked since the year 2015 because of the personal intervention by PM Narendra Modi.
According to Goyal, it is being expected that by the year 2035, the East West Metro corridor will be used by around 10 lakh people. Though this Kolkata Metro project was sanctioned in July 2008, very little work was done till 2015, he said. There were various problems like land acquisition issues, resettlement issues, and then the state government asked the centre to change the alignment. All these reasons resulted in a huge delay as well as cost escalation, the Railway Minister said. Moreover, during drilling operations in August 2019, an accident caused by an aquifer burst in the Bowbazar area disrupted the work on the East West Metro corridor.
The new Phoolbagan Metro Station is the first underground metro station of the East West Metro corridor. This corridor is an extension of the East West Metro from the Salt Lake Stadium to Phoolbagan station. The newly opened Phoolbagan station boasts CCTV cameras, ticket vending machine, signages at the concourse level, platform screen doors, state-of-the-art escalators, customer care gates, and smart rooms, fire fighting facilities, smoke and toxicity detectors, baggage scanners and metal detectors, safety features, facilities for divyang passengers, lift, modern toilets and restrooms, communication-based train control system, etc. This metro station is also of special significance because of its proximity to Sealdah railway station. On 13 February 2020, Goyal inaugurated the first phase of the project, a 4.88-km stretch of connecting Sector-V and Salt Lake Stadium.