Ministry urged to contribute 50 p.c. of Rs. 8,759-crore project

The Karnataka government has asked the Ministry of Railways to not only approve a commuter rail system (CRS) for the city, but also be an active partner in Bangalore Suburban Railway Company Ltd.

Two days before demitting office, Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath on October 28 wrote to Pradeep Kumar, project adviser, Railway Board, requesting the ministry to give its concurrence for participation in the project. He also urged the ministry to pick up equity in Bangalore Suburban Railway Company Ltd. and contribute 50 per cent of the project cost. The project cost is estimated to be Rs. 8,759 crore.

Mr. Ranganath said, “The Government of Karnataka has been continuously requesting the Ministry of Railways to concur to the implementation of a suburban rail system in Bangalore. The State government had initiated a feasibility study by M/s RITES to understand the capacity constraints of the existing railway infrastructure. On the basis of RITES’s report, the government has already initiated action for preparation of a detailed report for the first phase of the project, setting up of Bangalore Suburban Railway Company Ltd. and acquisition of Binny Mill’s land for the project.”

Three phases

The feasibility report had recommended implementation of the project in three phases. Phase 1 will focus on areas where demand is very high and phase 2 on the remaining places. In phase 3, the focus will be on additional halts and increasing the number of cars in each rake from nine to 15.

Mr. Ranganath said that, among other things, phase 1 would involve electrification of some stretches, setting up an automatic signalling system, investment in facilities at terminals and rolling stock. This work would be classified as phase 1A for which the estimated cost is about Rs. 950 crore.

It would cover Bangalore–Mysore, Bangalore–Bangarpet and Bangalore–Tumkur sectors.

Mr. Ranganath said an investment of Rs. 173 crore needs to be made in the Mysore and Bangarpet sectors, which includes Rs. 105 crore on five rakes of mainline electrical multiple units (MEMU) and construction of additional pit lines at Byappanahalli and Yeshwantpur stations.

The Bangalore–Tumkur sector has a double line, but it is yet to be electrified and requires an automatic signalling system. The total investment in this sector, including maintenance sheds for MEMUs, would come to Rs. 777 crore.

Once operational, Mr. Ranganath expects phase 1A to generate about six lakh trips per day on the suburban network. Once all three phases are completed, the figure would go up to about 25 lakh trips per day.

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