The Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978

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The Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978 came into force on 1st February, 1979. The Act has a total of 45 sections. Till date, only two amendments have taken place that in 1982 and 2009.

The primary purpose of the Parliament behind this enactment was to provide legislation for the construction of works relating to the metro railways in the metropolitan cities especially in the city of Kolkata. Metropolitan city as per section 2(k) means Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai also known as Madras.

The Act has been divided into six chapters. First chapter is the Preliminary which constitutes the title and commencement of the Act and the definitions. The second chapter is devoted to the administration of the metro railways which would consist of a General Manager only. Section 3 provides that a General Manager would be appointed for each metro railway. Section 2(i) defines metro railway as a means of transportation for general public as well as goods. The definition also includes those things which are related to the metro railways such as ventilator shafts, ducts, station house and many more. Therefore, for the management of the metro railways, which includes the above mentioned definition, a General Manager is appointed for it. An Advisory Board would also be constituted under this Act. The Advisory Board as per section 4 of the Act would consist of nine members out of which one would be appointed as the Chairman of the Board. The appointment of the members of the Advisory Board as well as the General Manger would be done by the Central Government. However, the Advisory Board would be empowered with the formation of as many committees as it needs to do for the better execution of plans related to expansion of metro railways and for the better financing of it.

Chapter III deals with the Acquisition. The study of this chapter makes it apparent that whichever land is required for the construction of metro railways would be acquired by the Central Government and would be deemed to be vested in the Central Government after such acquisition. The whole procedure would be according to the law. Also the determined sum would be paid to the owner of the land. Section 6 to 17 would be covered under this chapter.

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Chapter IV deals with the works related to the metro railway construction. As per clause (j) of Section 2, General Manager would be referred to as the metro railway administration. Section 20 of the Act provides the functions which the metro railway administration has to fulfill. The General Manager, as it thinks proper, would construct the metro railways anywhere in the state. The administration would also construct such station houses, power houses, warehouse as the General Manager would think to make the metro railway convenient for the general public. However, in order to carry out these functions, certain powers have also been vested in the metro railway administration. The administration would have the power to take any land, which comes in the way of the construction of metro railways, on lease or in any other form of incumbrance as the manager thinks fit. The administration would construct as many tracks of the metro railways as it consider convenient for the general public. Also if any drainage or sewage or any building comes in the way of construction of the tracks of the railways, in that case, those stumbling blocks would be terminated. If any tunnels would come in between, that would be burrowed. Also a proper railway station would be constructed and the signals would be put for the ease of railways. Moreover, if the central government comes to the conclusion regarding any site of the metro railway that by any construction or excavation, the safety of the metro railways would be put at stake, in that case, the central government would pass an order for the discontinuation of such construction or excavation. In regards to the prevention of such construction, compensation would be provided to them.

The Act safeguards the metro railways from any technical flaw by regularly conducting inspection of the metro railways. Thus, for the same Commissioners would be appointed by the Central Government. The provisions for the inspection is been provided in a different chapter that is chapter V. Chapter VI is the miscellaneous provisions such as the surplus land would be disposed by the central government.

Therefore, for the better construction of metro railways and this enactment been done especially for the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata), a schedule has been attached to the Act in which a map has been given indicating the map of the metro railway for the city of Calcutta. Thus, the Central Government has taken every step to construct the metro railways in a proper manner.

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by Neha Dayal