ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Lessons from Kolkata’s East–West Metro Disaster

The disasters faced during the construction of the east–west metro corridor in Kolkata have brought to the fore various contentious issues of urban infrastructure development, such as limited know-how of executing agency, low or no disaster preparedness, and precedence of narrow political interests over the safety considerations of such high-risk construction projects. These accidents reiterate the need for redefining the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved in such projects.

Kolkata, in recent times, has witnessed disastrous outcomes during the construction of an underground tunnel of the east–west metrorail project, which have left hundreds of people homeless and displaced. The buildings started tilting, a few collapsed, while several others saw growing cracks on floors, walls and roofs. On the other hand, the panic caused by building collapses and the continuously evolving symptoms of it—such as, formation of newer cracks and tilts of the century-old structures—near the project site is further exacerbated by the fact that the population and building density at site is much higher than the city average.

However, there is no denying that nowadays, the metrorail has evolved as a means of efficient and rapid mass transit system in megacities all over the world. Kolkata has had the privilege of being the first Indian megacity to have constructed and operationalised a metrorail network plying from the north to the south of the city since the 1980s. In the last couple of years, multiple metrorail projects are being executed in Kolkata to establish connections with its suburban areas.

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Updated On : 22nd Oct, 2019

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