While sanctioning the suburban rail project, the Central government had directed that the KSR Bengaluru to Devanahalli line, which links Kempegowda International Airport, be prioritised and completed in three years. However, the plans have now been altered.
Instead of taking up work on the airport line, the Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited (K-RIDE) has decided to start with the Baiyappanahalli-Chikkabanavara and Heelalige-Rajankunte lines in the first phase of implementing the suburban rail project.
K-RIDE Managing Director Amit Garg told The Hindu that as per directions from the government, the 25-km line from Baiyappanahalli to Chikkabanavara (corridor 2) and the 46-km line from Heelalige to Rajankunte(corridor 4) have been considered for construction in the first phase.
“The notification for acquiring the land will be issued in less than a fortnight. For the entire project, we need 102 acres of private land. The sanctioned amount for land acquisition is ₹1,470 crore. Tender for the project will be issued in two to three months.”
When asked why the Devanahalli line will not be taken in the first phase, he said, “There is no specific reason.”
While sanctioning the 148-km suburban rail project, the Union government had directed the K-RIDE to ‘prioritise’ KSR Bengaluru-Devanahalli via Yeshwantpur and Yelahanka, with a total length of 41 km. “Work on corridor 1 [KSR Bengaluru to Devanahalli] will be taken take up after corridors 2 and 4,” Mr. Garg added.
The official maintained that the agency is working in “full swing” to implement the project. “We have a staff strength of 55 people that includes engineering staff. The process of filling the rest of the vacancies is ongoing,” he said.
The third planned corridor from Kengeri to Whitefield has a length of 35.5 km.
It was on January 4 that South Western Railways had introduced a local train service to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) by utilising the newly built halt station near the airport. Rail activists feel that a suburban rail on the corridor will provide better infrastructure and help not just air passengers but also people living on the outskirts of the city.
The total cost of the suburban rail project is ₹15,767 crore. The Central and the State governments will each bear 20% of the cost and the rest will be borrowed from financial institutions. In November, the State government gave approval to borrow ₹7,438 crore for the project.