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Share transfer process stalls East-West metro project

In recent months, the work has almost come to a standstill in absence managing director

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Kolkata's wait for the new metro in the city is getting longer everyday, as share transfer process has now brought the work in project to a standstill.

“The talk of change in ownership has anyway slowed down progress of the project in the last one year. In recent months, the work has almost come to a standstill, in absence managing director here, since no one other than MD can sign bills, payments to contractors,” an official in Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL), which is executing the project, said.

After the the union cabinet had approved the transfer of the project to Union ministry of railways as requested by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, state-appointed managing director, B P Gopalika, has been stripped of non-statutory powers.

“The bills now needs to be sent to New Delhi to the chairman for approval. This is certainly going to cause huge delay to the project, which is now already delayed by almost two years” the official pointed out.

Secretary in Union urban development ministry is the chairman in KMRCL.

Also, following the cabinet nod to transfer of shares, KMRCL has been asked to frame the fresh Article of Associations and memorandum of understanding, which would replace the earlier one signed in 2008. The Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) would select a new set of directors for the KMRCL.

KMRCL was originally a joint venture between the Union urban development ministry and the West Bengal government, for developing the East West metro project that will connect Salt Lake to Howrah. Now, following the request from West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, the stake of state government is now being transferred to Union Railway ministry, which runs the existing metro services in Kolkata.

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