Bengaluru’s suburban railway project needs ₹1,000 crore to take off

The 148-km suburban rail network in Bengaluru will have 57 stations.

The 148-km suburban rail network in Bengaluru will have 57 stations.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Many international agencies are keen on funding: K-RIDE

The ₹18,600-crore suburban rail network project will need an initial investment of ₹1,000 crore to take off in the coming financial year.

Chief of the Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Enterprises (K-RIDE) Amit Garg on Saturday said that international financial agencies such as JICA, ADB, and the World Bank had shown interest in the project. He estimated that investment would be increased in the coming financial years (2021–22 and 2022–23) by 15% and then 20% of the project cost.

“We have approached various financial agencies that have shown interest in investing in the suburban rail project. In the first year, there is a plan to invest 5% of the project cost and 50% of the land cost. The suburban rail network requires 600 acres of land, of which 100 acres of land belongs to private parties. As about 85% of the land is available, acquisition will not be a problem,” said Mr. Garg. Once civil work gets completed, K-RIDE would explore the possibility of roping in private players to operate trains on a long-term lease basis, said Mr. Garg.

Mr. Garg was speaking on the sidelines of a videoconference by MoS for Railways Suresh Angadi, who inaugurated the newly electrified section of Chunar–Chopan in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.

“The financial rate of returns in the suburban rail project is around 11. All measures have been taken to make the project financially viable,” he added. The agency hopes to generate additional revenue through value capture finance (VCF) which will see areas around stations and the rail network develop.

K-RIDE is open to the idea of innovative finance where private companies come forward to build the suburban rail stations on the lines of Namma Metro. Already, as part of the KSR (Bengaluru) railway station – Devanahalli line, Bangalore International Airport Ltd. is building a railway station near the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). According to Mr. Garg, once the suburban rail network connects the city to the airport, 4 lakh passengers would benefit daily.

To implement the 148-km suburban rail network with 57 stations, the Union and the State governments will provide 20% of equity each. The Union government will facilitate external assistance up to 60% of the project cost, which is estimated at ₹18,600 crore.

No time frame fixed

After drawing flak for allocating a mere ₹1 crore for the suburban rail project in the pink book that was issued on Wednesday, Mr. Angadi on Saturday said the Union Cabinet would approve the project in due course. When asked about any time frame fixed for the Cabinet approval, the Minister said, “Why are you having doubts ? Every week Cabinet meetings are held. There is a process to take up the issue.”

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 10:50:42 AM |

Next Story