No sharing 50% cost of doubling projects: State govt

No sharing 50% cost of doubling projects: State govt

The railway lines on the Baiyappanahalli-Hosur and Yeshwantpur-Channasandra routes are to be doubled and electrified as part of the Bengaluru suburban train network.

The state government has said no to a proposal from the the railways to share 50% of the cost of the two key doubling-cum-electrification projects, which can facilitate more local trains in the city. 

In a letter to the South Western Railway (SWR), the government conveyed its decision that the doubling and electrification of the Baiyappanahalli-Hosur line (estimated at Rs 376 crore) and Yeshwantpur-Channasandra line (estimated at Rs 170 crore) should be taken up by the new special purpose vehicle set up to implement the suburban rail project.

The reply came following requests from railway officials for sharing half of the cost for expediting the project. "The government has said the two works can be taken up under the 20:20 model, with 60% of the project cost raised through loans," an official said.

A source in SWR said they were not opposed to the idea of funding works through loans. "Raising loans is a time-consuming process as it involves getting multiple approvals at various levels. Considering that both the projects will help in the smooth running of many trains, we had hoped to complete them at the earliest," the source said.

Urban transport activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said the state government's flip-flop on crucial infrastructure has further delayed the possibility of introducing trains to congested areas of the city, especially the IT belt of Hebbal-Banaswadi-Whitefield-Sarjapur-Heelalige. 

"These areas contribute the maximum taxes. The state should not hesitate in sharing 50% of the cost. Equal enthusiasm should be shown in elimination of level crossings in the next two years," Dyamannavar said.