Kolkata: The first phase of the East-West Metro that will connect Salt Lake Sector V with Salt Lake stadium will be operational by the end of March 2019 or the beginning of April 2019, said Union Minister of State for Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises Babul Supriyo on Monday.The minister was in the city to witness the progress of work for the E-W Metro.The first trial run of two rakes side-by-side on two tracks was held for the first time in his presence. Supriyo also tried his hands at driving a rake that travelled from Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeCity Centre station to Salt Lake Sector V.”Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Limited (KMRCL), the executing agency wants to ensure that safety and security measures are in place before starting the services. So we have decided not to hurry with the commencement of services,” Supriyo said.”We are installing a modernised signaling system, the software for which is to be imported from Japan. There are several sharp bends and curves in the alignment from Sector V to Salt Lake stadium. The software is expected by the end of December following which the system will be put in place,” he added. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe minister has already held talks with the Union Defence ministry including Nirmala Sitharaman for speeding up the process of procurement of the software. According to sources in KMRCL, there will be five rakes in stock before starting the first phase. “We will begin with two or three and will increase the frequency depending upon the passenger demand,” a senior KMRCL official said. The phase from Salt Lake stadium till Sector V will have six stations and cover a distance of 5.5 km. “The way the work is progressing, I am hopeful that Esplanade to Sealdah phase will be operational by June 2019 that we had announced earlier,” he maintained. The minister also shared that some technical problems have delayed work from Sealdah to Esplanade as there are technical glitches in Esplanade where the East-West Metro will intersect the existing North-South Metro that runs from Noapara to Kavi Subhas. “We are working on overcoming the technical hurdles,” a KMRCL official added. The target for the second phase from Howrah Maidan to Sector V is June 2021.