City and Elections: Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project faces delays; commuters urge speedy completion

Updated - April 19, 2024 04:59 pm IST

Published - April 17, 2024 09:23 pm IST - Bengaluru

The deadline for the Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project has been revised to 2027 by the Karnataka government.

The deadline for the Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project has been revised to 2027 by the Karnataka government. | Photo Credit: File photo

The much-anticipated Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project (BSRP) faces continued delays, with the deadline now revised to 2027 by the Karnataka government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had originally promised in June 2022 that the project, which had been pending for 40 years, would be completed in 40 months, that is, by December 2025.

BSRP, sanctioned by the Ministry of Railways with a project cost of ₹15,767 crore, aims to develop a suburban railway network spanning 148 km with 58 stations across four corridors. The project is funded through the equity contribution of the Karnataka government, the Ministry of Railways, and external borrowing in the ratio of 20:20:60.

Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya has criticized the revised timeline and suggested that the Union government should take over the project. He had said: “Going by the way things were, even 2027 was an ambitious target,” and blamed the State government for the delays. Mr. Surya further added: “I have spoken to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, and they are ready to take over the project if the State government moots the proposal.”

As the Lok Sabha elections approach, residents are expressing their dissatisfaction with the slow progress of the project. Srinivas Nayak, resident of Chikkabanavara, said: “When the suburban rail project was approved in October 2020, it was supposed to be completed within 72 months (six years). Now, months have passed, but there is no progress yet. What both the Central and State governments are doing is a blame game.”

Chandra Kumar, resident of Whitefield, said: “The suburban rail project is progressing slowly, with minimal attention from elected representatives, including the CM, MPs, MLAs, and top bureaucrats. As the election approaches, we call on MP candidates to make this important mobility project a priority and push for its timely completion for the public’s benefit.”

Meanwhile, to address traffic issues in the city, the Ministry of Railways proposed developing a circular rail network of around 287 km on the outskirts of Bengaluru last November. The proposed network around Bengaluru city will connect Nidvanda-Doddaballapur (40.9 km), Doddaballapur-Devanahalli (28.5 km), Devanahalli-Malur (46.5 km), Malur-Heelalige (52 km), Hejjala-Solur (43.5 km), Solur-Nidavanda (34.2 km), and Hejjala-Heelalagi (42 km).

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