INDIA: The Kolkata Mass Rapid Transit SPV, a consortium of Srei Infrastructure, West Bengal Transport Infrastructure Development Corp and Czech-based Amex International, was launched by West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on February 18 to implement a Rs60bn light rail project in Kolkata.

The 40 km north-south route from Joka to Barrackpore will have 37 stations. Viability gap funding will be sought once the Detailed Project Report is completed in September.

Five days later Bhattacharjee laid the foundation stone for the east-west metro line. The Rs48·7bn project will be financed partly by central government (Rs11·7bn) and West Bengal (Rs14·5bn), with the remainder lent by JICA.

The 13·8 km corridor runs from Salt Lake Sector V to Howrah Maidan, and includes an 8 km six-station underground stretch crossing the Hooghly River. Kolkata Metro Rail Corp has already awarded construction of the 5·8 km elevated section to Gammon India. The Salt Lake – Sealdah section is scheduled for completion by 2012 with the whole line due to be operational by October 2014.

Aecom Technology Corp will provide technical and management support services to both the Kolkata east-west line and the Chennai Metro projects (RG 3.09 p20), under two contracts worth US$50m.