Coronavirus now threatens to obstruct India’s first underwater metro

The deadly coronavirus outbreak is now threatening to derail India’s first underwater metro.

Chinese manufacturer CRRC Dalian is being forced to look at other avenues to get its rake for the Kolkata Metro Railway tested. A team of Chinese engineers was supposed to come to the city for conducting Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) tests of the first rake that arrived in March last year. But the whole thing has now become uncertain.

Radio frequency interference is the conduction or radiation of radio frequency energy that causes an electronic or electrical device to produce noise that typically interferes with the function of an adjacent device.

The Railway Ministry had placed an order for 14 rakes from Dalian for the Kolkata Metro Railway.

Kolkata’s East-West metro project, which runs partly under the city’s iconic Hooghly river, is slated to be completed by March 2022 after a delay of several years and doubling of costs.

India’s oldest metro, which started in 1984 with a North-South service, was due to expand by 2014 but faced problems including squatters on the planned route. These issues contributed to the total project cost rising to about Rs 8,600 crores for some 17 kilometers from the original estimate of Rs 4,900 crore for 14 km.

The new line is expected to carry about 9 lakh people daily — roughly 20% of the city’s population — and will take less than a minute to cross a 520-meter underwater tunnel.

With PTI inputs

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