Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. is all set to receive the land it needs along NH 44 (Ballari Road) so that the city can be linked to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) by Namma Metro. A few days ago, it paid ₹141 crore to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for 1.05 lakh sq. m of land.
The NHAI had acquired the land in 2010–11 while building the elevated corridor and widening the highway from Esteem Mall towards the airport. In 2008, the then BJP government proposed a high-speed rail link from M.G. Road to KIA, and the NHAI was asked to acquire another 1.05 lakh sq. m of land on the 20-km stretch from Esteem Mall to trumpet interchange. The project, however, got stalled owing to various issues, including high cost. It was later decided that a metro line to KIA would be a better option.
The BMRCL has decided to take up work on the metro line from the proposed K.R. Puram interchange station to the KIA via Nagawara and Hebbal under Phase II-B. The train to the airport will originate from Silk Board and cover a distance of 55 km. There will be two underground metro stations within the KIA premises. Metro officials, who are hoping to meet the 2023 deadline, are in the process preparing a detailed project report.
“On Ballari Road, the metro alignment will run parallel to the elevated road from Esteem Mall. The BMRCL needs land only to build metro stations at identified locations,” said a senior official.
He added that the NHAI, in addition to the principal amount, has asked the BMRCL to pay an interest of 13.8% from the time the land was acquired. Once the the issue gets settled, the BMRCL will take possession of the land.
A senior NHAI official said, “The land was initially acquired for the high-speed rail link corridor but later it was decided that a metro line would be built. Now, the BMRCL has made the payment and discussions are being held on the collection of interest charged.”
Line to connect with PRR
The metro line from K.R. Puram to the KIA will connect with the proposed peripheral ring road (PRR) on Ballari Road. The BMRCL has proposed to build a metro station after Kogilu Cross.
However, it is unlikely that this will happen any time soon. The 65-km PRR project, which is estimated to cost ₹12,000 crore, was conceptualised more than a decade ago but has been mired in problems ranging from land acquisition to rising costs. As per the plan, it will start at Makali, off Tumakuru Road, then touch Doddballapur Road and intersect with Ballari Road at Hosahalli. A senior BMRCL official said, “A metro station will come up where the PRR intersects the Ballari Road. It will help people who want to use PRR to reach various destinations.”
The BMRCL has also identified 17 locations to build metro stations from the proposed K.R. Puram interchange station to the KIA. Of these, 10 will be between K.R. Puram and Hebbal at points such as Horamavu, Kalyan Nagar, HRBR Layout, HBR, and Nagawara.
“The alignment will be along the median of the road, and will help both residential and commercial establishments on the Outer Ring Road (ORR). There will be fewer metro stations after Hebbal — only seven — on the 28-odd-km stretch. That will enable metro trains to run at a higher speed after hitting Ballari Road,” said a senior official.
The alignment will help thousands of employees working in tech parks on the ORR. It has also has proposed to build Hebbal metro station close to the BMTC depot.
Building the metro on the ORR will be a mammoth undertaking for the BMRCL. Commuters from the north Bengaluru who use the road to reach places such as K.R. Puram and Whitefield will have the brace themselves for additional traffic snarls.
The BMRCL has also proposed to build a road-cum-metro flyover after K.R. Puram station for a stretch of 3 km to decongest traffic, especially near Tin Factory.
The BMRCL has proposed bus bays near metro stations on the ORR line. It will acquire 57 m of land on either side of the ORR to build bus bays. “Bus bays will help the BMTC operate more number feeder services from metro stations and also help in smooth flow of traffic on the ORR.” In Phase I, only a few stations such as S.V. Road station, have bus bays.