K-RIDE headless, likely to further delay suburban rail project

Despite over one-and-half months since laying of foundation by the PM, no works have started on ground

August 07, 2022 11:16 pm | Updated 11:18 pm IST - Bengaluru

At a crucial juncture, the Managing Director's post of the Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited – K-RIDE has fallen vacant. This is likely to delay further the ambitious suburban rail project.

The State government has not extended the tenure of Amit Garg, who held the post for three years. Mr. Garg, an IRSE (Indian Railway Service of Engineers) officer, will go back to his parent department, Indian Railways. The K-RIDE, a special purpose vehicle, is a joint venture of the Karnataka Government and the Ministry of Railways established to implement the 148 km suburban rail project in the city.

40 months

On June 20, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation for the project and promised Bengalureans that the project will be a reality in 40 months. In the first phase, the K-RIDE had chosen the Baiyappanahalli – Chikkabanavara corridor for implementation. The tender was floated for the project in November 2021, but not started on ground. After the PM’s promise, officials had maintained that work would start from August 15, but with the MD’s post being vacant, it is unlikely to happen.

When contacted, Mr. Garg said, “My next assignment will depend upon the decision of the Ministry of Railways. There is a selection process to appoint the next MD. Now that I am out of the organisation, I do not want to comment.” Replying to a question on whether he had sought for extension of tenure, he said, “I did ask for an extension of tenure, but it was not considered.” He said that his tenure as MD of K-RIDE ended on July 25. 

Rail activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said, “It is very unfortunate that the post of the head of the K-RIDE has fallen vacant. The suburban rail project is already delayed and it will be delayed further till the new MD is appointed. The State government should have continued the previous MD for six months or one year. It appears that no one is serious about implementing the suburban rail project and elected representatives are not showing any interest. The tenders are yet to be awarded for Baiyappanahalli-Chikkabanavara line and for the rest of the lines, no tenders have been floated. To give impetus to the project, a technocrat should be appointed as the MD. The suburban rail should not go the way of Namma Metro in missing deadlines.”

Suburban rail project
The total project cost of the entire four corridors is ₹15,676 crore.
In the first phase, the K-RIDE had chosen Baiyappanahalli – Chikkabanavara corridor for implementation.
The other three corridors are KSR Bengaluru–Devanahalli that also connect Kempegowda International Airport, Kengeri to Whitefiled and Heelalige to Ranjankunte.
As part of the rail networks, a total of 57 stations will come up and many of the stations will be integrated with existing and proposed metro stations, bus stands and railway stations. 
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