Urban Development Ministry examining proposal, decision on clearance soon
Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) has decided against opting for partial public-private partnership (PPP) model in operations, including track, signalling and rolling stock, for the two new lines in Namma Metro Phase 2.
The State government, while giving approval in principle for Phase 2 on January 3 last year, had suggested exploring the possibility of PPP for operations on the new lines — Gottigere-IIMB-Nagavara and R.V. Road Terminal-Bommasandra.
The estimated cost the private partner would have had to bear is in the region of Rs. 6,000 crore.
The board had decided against the PPP model, BMRCL managing director N. Sivasailam told The Hindu.
Asked if it was prompted by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRCL) burning its fingers with regard to the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line, Mr. Sivasailam said the board would have had that in mind before taking a final call.
Board took a call
“The board [debated] the PPP option based on the favourable recommendations of the [government] and, after considering all aspects, later decided not to go for it unless the institutional viability of Delhi airport line and that of Hyderabad and Gurgaon Metro are established for a reasonable period.”
The government, based on the detailed project report (DPR) prepared by DMRCL for Namma Metro Phase 2, had given in-principle approval for the Rs. 26,405 crore project.
Phase 2 involves two extensions: Byappanahalli to Whitefield and Mysore Road Terminal to Kengeri on the East-West corridor of Phase 1, and Hessarghatta Cross to Manjunathanagar and Jaraganahalli Cross to Anjanapura on the North-South Corridor. Two new lines were also proposed to be taken up under this phase.
The Delhi Airport Metro Express Line, where DMRCL had built the infrastructure with the Reliance Infrastructure Ltd.-led Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Ltd. (DAMEP) was in charge of operations, ran into rough weather during the second half of 2012.
Operations were suspended for over six months and the line opened with a limited speed of 50 kmph last week. There were safety concerns with regard to some pillars on the 23-km route from Connaught Place to Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport. While DMRCL had alleged that the private partner wanted to get out of the contract owing to poor returns, DAMEP has rebutted it. But the private partner had stated that the licence period — 30 years — was too short to leverage the real estate potential of the stations and depots.
Being looked into
Sources in the Union Ministry of Urban Development told The Hindu that BMRCL’s proposal not to go for partial PPP in Phase 2 was under examination. “We will examine the proposal in detail before giving final clearance for Namma Metro Phase 2,” a top official of the ministry said. Asked about the time-frame to clear the proposal for Phase 2, the official said feedback from the ministries concerned had been forwarded for BMRCL’s comments. “We are expecting the decision very soon.”