Advanced engineering solutions cleared the path for the project's completion amidst numerous challenges
In a groundbreaking event that propels India into the forefront of global infrastructure innovation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the much-anticipated underwater metro section in Kolkata on Wednesday (March 6, 2024). This landmark project, part of the East-West Metro corridor, is a testimony to engineering excellence and is critical in enhancing urban connectivity and mobility in one of India's most historic cities.
An Engineering Marvel Under the Hooghly 
Stretching over 16.6 km, the East-West Metro corridor, with approximately 10.8 km tunnelled underground, incorporates a section beneath the Hooghly River, making it the deepest metro route in the country. This section, running between Howrah Maidan and Esplanade, represents the first underwater transit tunnel in India, placed nearly 32 meters below the river's surface.
Constructed at a cost of Rs 4,965 crore, this metro line is a marvel of modern engineering and urban planning, promising to redefine the commuting experience in Kolkata.
Reflecting on the significance of this achievement, Prime Minister Modi, who took a ride on this stretch, shared his enthusiasm via Twitter: "It’s a very special day for the people of Kolkata as the city’s metro network gets significantly enhanced. Connectivity will get a boost and traffic will get decongested. It’s a proud moment that the Howrah Maidan-Esplanade Metro section has the first underwater metro transportation tunnel under any major river in our country."
Overcoming Historical Challenges
The journey to realizing this monumental project was fraught with challenges, dating back to its initial conception by the British in 1921, which was eventually shelved due to unfavourable soil tests.
Revived in the 1980s and again in 2008, the project faced political, financial, and technical hurdles, including significant setbacks like the Bowbazar aquifer burst in 2019, which caused considerable damage and delays. Nevertheless, perseverance and advanced engineering solutions cleared the path for the project's completion, pointing to the commitment to Kolkata's urban development.
A Leap Forward in Urban Mobility
Beyond its architectural and engineering accomplishments, the East-West Metro corridor is dignified to significantly alleviate traffic congestion, reduce travel times, and enhance the quality of life for Kolkata's residents. By seamlessly connecting key urban areas, including the burgeoning IT hub of Salt Lake Sector V, this metro line is set to transform the city's public transportation landscape. 
The inclusion of Automatic Train Operation (ATO) technology further elevates the efficiency and safety of this modern transit system, capable of transporting passengers beneath the river in under a minute.
With ticket prices thoughtfully set to encourage widespread use, starting at just Rs 5, the underwater metro aims to be an accessible and sustainable option for daily commuters. This initiative is expected not only to improve urban mobility but also to contribute positively to the environment by reducing the city's carbon footprint.
Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated the Kavita Subhash - Hemanta Mukhopadhyay Metro section and the Taratala - Majerhat Metro section (part of the Joka- Esplanade line).
As Kolkata looks forward to the full operation of the East-West corridor by mid-2024, the successful inauguration of the underwater section marks a major achievement in India's infrastructure development. This project not only symbolizes the harmonious blend of heritage and modernity that characterizes Kolkata but also sets a prior reference for future urban transport projects across the country, opening a new era of innovation and connectivity.