Wait for Phase II of Namma Metro will stretch 5 years

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara flag off the 3rd six-coach Namma Metro train at Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Station on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

Citizens will have to wait for five years before the entire Phase-II of Namma Metro becomes operational. Prior to taking up work on the 72-km project, which has multiple reaches, the BMRCL had envisioned a 2020 deadline. This has now been extended to 2023.

This information was revealed by the State government on Thursday, which also saw the launch of the third six-coach train on the Purple Line.

The deadlines indicate that extensions of metro services on Kanakapura Road and Mysuru Road will be operational by 2020.

Ajay Seth, Managing director of BMRCL, told The Hindu that phase II project works started in February 2016. “As per the mandate received from the government, a metro project has to be completed in five years once work starts. A majority of reaches will be operational by 2021,” he said.

BMRCL promises to commission the metro line to Whitefield in 2021 and to Electronic City in 2022. The Gottigere to Nagawara line will be operational in 2023. This delay is likely to affect plans to extend metro services from Nagawara to Kempegowda International Airport.

Metro to Whitefield, Electronics City

With the deadline for completion of the entire second phase pushed back to 2023, work on various reaches will be affected. It will be at least another three years before people working in the tech corridor of Baiyappanhalli and Whitefield can use Namma Metro services. The reach from Baiyappanhalli to Whitefield, one of the major tech corridors in the city, and Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) on Tumakuru Road will be commissioned by 2021.

Lakhs of people working in Electronics City and various industrial areas will to have wait till mid-2022 to commute on Namma Metro.

The Gottigere to Nagawara line will be operational by 2023. When asked about the delay, Ajay Seth, Managing Director of BMRCL, said that work on the elevated part of the project had begun. “The tender process for building the underground stretch between Vellara Junction and Tannery Road will be finalised in two months. A decision on building an elevated line on either side of the original alignment will be decided by December.”

As per the original alignment, the BMRCL had planned to build a 6.98-km elevated line from Gottigere to Swagath Road, which would then go underground from Dairy Circle to Nagawara for 13.79 km. Tenders had been floated to take up the underground project. The BMRCL had estimated the project cost would be ₹5,047 crore, but bidders had quoted ₹8,553 crore, forcing the company to cancel the tender.

Officials decided to reduce the length of the underground line and opted for an elevated line on either side of the original plan (Dairy Circle to Vellara Junction and Pottery Town to Nagawara).

Delay will impact metro to KIA

The delay in executing the Gottigere-Nagawara project is likely to have adverse impact on extending metro services from Nagawara to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). The BMRCL had recently taken a decision to change the alignment from Nagawara to KIA saying building a metro via R.K. Hegde Nagar and Jakkur was not feasible due to the presence of a high pressure petroleum line. Mr Seth said the State government will decide on the final alignment to KIA.

Upgrading fleet to six-coach trains

The BMRCL has informed the State government that the existing fleet of three-coach trains will be upgraded to six-coach ones only by December 2019. Early this year, the BMRCL had maintained that by June 2019, the entire fleet of 50 three-coach trains will be changed to six coaches.

“By March 2019, the BMRCL will be operating 25 six-coach trains. The fourth six-coach train will be operational in 20 days, and one will be run on the Green Line (Yelachenahalli to Nagasandra) by December,” said Mr. Seth.

He defended the decision to run the first lot of six-coach trains on the Purple Line, as it had a higher ridership during peak hours (19,500 people per hour) compared to the Green line (10,000 people per hour).

Mobility cards in two years

The BMRCL is working with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to introduce a common mobility card in about two years. At present, smart cards issued by the BMRCL cannot be used on buses due to incompatibility in technology.

Increasing frequency

As patronage is increasing, the BMRCL is considering running trains at a higher frequency. In Phase II, the new lines as well as the extension of the existing line will have a track design that will facilitate faster turn back of trains so that a headway of two minutes can be achieved.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 7:16:26 AM |

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