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High speed rail link to airport not shelved, says BMRCL

Bosky Khanna, Bengaluru, June 28, 2016, DHNS 1:31 IST

Route of rail link and Basaveshwara Circle steel flyover is the same

 A BMRCL official hinted that Namma Metro Phase-2 project from Gottigere to Nagawara to airport could be integrated with HSRL as BMRCL will implement it.

It is a situation where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing and vice versa.

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) which is hurrying up the Rs 1,350 crore 6.9-km steel flyover from Basavesvara Circle has no idea that another government agency, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) is still considering the High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) from Minsk Square. Both the projects are aimed to ease traffic and connect the KIA and align on the same route.

BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola told Deccan Herald that HSRL was in discussion stages. “The project hasn’t been shelved,’’ he said.

A senior urban development department official said since talks for HSRL are on, state government and BMRCL have not returned the three acre land on Cubbon Road to the defence establishment. The initial plan was to have a rail link to the airport, the official said.

A BMRCL official hinted that Namma Metro Phase-2 project from Gottigere to Nagawara to airport could be integrated with HSRL as BMRCL will implement it. “There is no need for steel flyover which is only a short term solution of eight to 10 years. But rail connectivity eases traffic for over 20 years,’’ the officer opined.

Notwithstanding the BMRCL keeping the HSRL under consideration, the BDA is pushing the project in a hurry without even mobilising funds, seeking public consultation and without any impact assessment study.

A detailed project report for HSRL was given by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRCL) to Karnataka government in 2009. The proposal was shelved due to political reasons. Project cost and fares were also high. “We are taking a re-look at the project for the last two years,’’ the official said.

S N Venkata Rao, Bengaluru-based advisor to DMRCL said the HSRL project cost was about Rs 5,000 crore. “It was to become a reality in three years. The train was to run at a speed of 160 kmph. Initially stations were proposed at Hebbal and Yelahanka. There was scope for more stations. But the government was not keen on it. It’s ideal solution for growing Bengaluru,’’ Rao said.

Dr S Subramanya, former BBMP Commissioner said when the airport was planned, the steel flyover was also discussed. “City planners had then opposed the flyover saying that this is a HSRL corridor and no obstacle should come up. However, the HSRL was dropped and now again steel flyover project has been revived. Projects should not be only airport-centric,’’ he opined.

When contacted, Urban Development Department Additional Chief Secretary Mahendra Jain said he was not aware of HSRL project.

BDA seeks suggestions

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has stated that it is open for suggestions from citizens over the proposal to construct a steel flyover from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal, reports DHNS from Bengaluru.

Citizens and experts can contact BDA officer Shivashankar on phone number 9845630131 or send am email to eo1ta@gmail.com for their suggestions on the flyover project, according to a press release.

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