Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Friday asked the metro rail corporation to submit expert opinions by November 15 on the feasibility of moving a tunnel-boring machine at Bowbazar, where an aquifer burst during tunnelling led to the collapse of several houses in August.
The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation said the boring machine has been at the site since the August 30 accident and is required to be moved by five metres to ensure it remains functional.
he metro corporation sought the court’s permission since the HC has ordered KMRC to not commence work in the tunnel without its approval.
A division bench, comprising Chief Justice T B N Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee, asked KMRC to submit a report including expert opinions on whether it would be feasible to move the machine, by November 15, the next date of hearing.
The court was hearing a PIL seeking termination of underground drilling for metro tunnels in congested areas. The PIL has also challenged some of the provisions of Metro Railway (Construction of Works) Act, 1978.
The West Bengal government filed a report on its preparedness in disaster management on Friday, which the court had asked during a previous hearing.
Two machines were deployed to dug two parallel tunnels for the underground East West Metro line, when the accident in Bowbazar happened involving one of these. Several buildings in the congested area collapsed or developed cracks, leaving hundreds homeless.
The KMRC has told the court that work for 9.8 km of the 10.9-km-long underground tunnel has been completed for metro corridor.
Tunnels have been bored under the Hooghly river to connect the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah through the rapid transit system, spanning a length of 16.6 km from Howrah Maidan to IT hub Sector V in Salt Lake.
The new corridor passes through some of Kolkata’s most-congested areas dotted by many century-old buildings, several of which are in a dilapidated condition.