One of the major hurdles for execution of the Bengaluru suburban rail project has been cleared. In the last week of December, the South Western Railway (SWR) has signed an agreement with KRIDE (Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited for transfer of railway lands. As per the agreement reached, for the first phase of work, the SWR has handed over 157 acres of land to the KRIDE. For the suburban rail project, the SWR leased the land for a period of 35 years and charged a nominal rate of ₹1 per acre as the decision was taken by both Central and State governments.
The KRIDE is a joint venture of the Government of Karnataka and Ministry of Railways and tasked with the implementation of a 148-km line suburban network in the city. In the first of the project, the KRIDE is implementing Corridor 2 from Baiyappanahalli to Chikkabanavara line (25 km), though the work order was issued in September for construction works did not take off as expected due to delay in handing over of the land.
During his recent visit to the city, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw assured that the land would be made available in a “few days.” In 2019, the Railways had taken a decision to hand over the land required for the project at ₹1 per acre. It is said that 326 acres of railway land has been identified for building four corridors in the city.
Divisional Railway Manager (Bengaluru Division) Shyam Singh said, “As per the agreement reached, the 150 odd acres of land has been handed over to the KRIDE. The allotment has been made as per the requirement given by the KRIDE. In future, further decisions on transfer of land will be taken as per KRIDE’s request.” Under Corridor 2, the KRIDE is constructing 14 stations.
The official said that the KRIDE had sought clearance for two alignments of the suburban rail network and those have been approved by the South Western Railway. In the second phase, the KRIDE will execute Corridor 4, that is from Heelalige to Rajankunte. The length of the corridor is 46 kilometres, and 19 stations are proposed at various locations. The KRIDE has already submitted a request seeking transfer of 193 acres of land.
In October 2020, the Central government had approved the project of building four corridors in the city: KSR Bengaluru – Devanahalli (41 km), Baiyappanahalli – Chikkabanavara (25.14 km), Kengeri – Whitefield (35.52 km), and Heelalige – Rajankunte (46.24 km). The suburban rail project is estimated to cost ₹15,767 crore. Both the State and Union governments will each bear 20% of the cost, while the remaining 60% will be raised through external sources.
In June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the project and assured Bengalureans that “the project which got delayed for 40 years will be a reality in 40 months.”
A senior official of the KRIDE said, “The KRIDE has received railway land for corridor 2. This will expedite the work. We have started work near Hebbal Railway Station. In the coming days, construction works will be taken up at multiple locations. For the project, 90% of land required is railway land. For remaining private land, notifications for acquisition through KIADB land acquisition process has reached an advanced stage. Tenders for corridor 4 will be called in the next 10 days. Efforts are on to raise funds for the project from multinational financial agencies.”