BMRCL plan to raise user fee for airport metro rejected

BMRCL plan to raise user fee for airport metro rejected

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A central regulatory body has shot down the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited's plan to raise Rs 1,000 crore through User Development Fee (UDF) for the airport metro project.

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has also told the state government officials to complete the project before collecting UDF.

Following a Cabinet approval, the state government had proposed to raise funds to build three metro stations — Trumpet flyover, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 — along a five-kilometre stretch of the metro line.

The BMRCL had planned to raise Rs 3,200 crore in loan and Rs 1,000 crore as USD for the Nagavara-Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) metro line, which was estimated to cost Rs 5,9050 crore. The line would be an extension of the Gottigere-Nagavara line.

While the state government had agreed to invest Rs 1,250 crore, the Centre promised Rs 500 crore for the project.

But AERA had told state government officials at a recent meeting that raising Rs 1,000 crore is not allowed under the existing regulations.

A senior official, who was part of the delegation, quoted AERA officials as saying that the metro projects connecting airports in Delhi and Mumbai — where UDF funds were raised simultaneously — will not be applicable for the airport project in Bengaluru.

"AERA said both those airports come under the Airports Authority of India (AAI), whose rules allow for USD. But the same provisions cannot be applied to KEA, a greenfield airport managed by BIAL," the official told DH.

He assured that the project would move ahead though the decision on the extra funds may take time. "Either the BMRCL will take additional loans or the state government would provide it," he added.

Meanwhile, AERA is all set to finalise the user development fee for the second control period.

The BIAL had proposed to lower UDF from Rs 1,537 to Rs 316.76 for international passengers and from Rs 384.27 to Rs 79.19 for domestic flyers. The third control period,  likely to begin from 2021, could see a spike in the UDF collection as BMRCL-BIAL will start recovering the Rs 1,000 crore provided for the metro.