The Karnataka government has commenced discussions with the Ministry of Railways for implementing a commuter rail system to link the metro and the monorail with urban towns situated up to a distance of 50 km from Bangalore.

The State capital will be linked with Anekal, Hosur, Hebbal, Yelahanka, Devanahalli, Doddaballapur, Kengeri, Bidadi, Ramanagaram, Krishnarajapuram, Whitefield, Malur, Bangarpet, Nelamangala, Tumkur and other areas, which form part of the railway network of South Western Railway.

The common push-pull trains will be operated in all these sectors on rail tracks dedicated to the commuter rail system.

Sources in the State government told The Hindu that Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath, along with Principal Secretary, Infrastructure Development and Revenue, V. Madhu will make a detailed presentation on the project to top officials of the Railway Ministry, including the chairman of the Railway Board, and the Planning Commission shortly.

The Karnataka government is keen that either permission be granted to enable it to independently undertake the project or the Railways undertake the project with the participation of the State government.

Under the commuter rail system, people residing in the urban towns adjoining Bangalore can reach their workplaces in any part of the city within an hour. The system will terminate at metro or monorail hubs and passengers alighting at these stations will have to travel by metro or monorail.

Optimum use of tracks

The Railways has reportedly conveyed that the present rail tracks in all these sectors are now being put to optimum use and that dedicated tracks have to be laid for the new project. The State government has agreed to acquire nearly 1,000 acres along the present rail lines which should suffice for laying two additional lines of a length of 204 km.

Within the Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Authority, approximately 120 km of rail system of the Indian Railways exists basically for long distance passenger and goods trains. This system currently is not being utilised for intra-urban movement within the BMA. According to the State government, the total cost of the commuter rail system has been estimated at around Rs. 4,000 crore and the State government will also share the cost, if need be.