Bengaluru Metro work resumes amid cost rise concerns

Coronavirus Lockdown: Bengaluru Metro work resumes amid cost rise concerns

Having lost several weeks to the coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is now back on the ground to resume the phase 2 metro projects. 

Among the lines they started to work include the Kengeri and Anjanapura extension, while concerns are mounting that some of the projects could be delayed by up to six months.

BMRCL managing director Ajay Seth said work has resumed on several metro lines, with 2,051 workers employed at 73 worksites on Saturday.

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“We are enforcing strict measures of social distancing and hygiene and are monitoring regularly,” Seth said. “We plan to resume the entire work in phases, as the situation permits. Most of the nearly 7,000 metro workers have remained in Bengaluru.”

Senior officials said the corporation is confident of completing the Mysuru Road-Kengeri (9 km) and the Yelachenahalli-Anjanapura (6.5 km).

“We plan to complete the Kengeri line by August and the Anjanapura line by November. We hope to finish them by the end of the year, as most of the civil work is over,” an official said.

A source said the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the supply chain of the raw materials. “The extension to Whitefield (Reach 1), BIEC (Reach 3), as well as the new lines (Reach 5 and 6) where the civil work is still ongoing, will suffer the most as the domestic supply of cement and steel will be delayed by three months.” 

“It would take six months to restore the international supply chain, which will affect the corporation’s projects,” the source added. 

Cost escalation

Besides upsetting the deadline, the stalled work also escalates the cost for the BMRCL. The approved cost for Phase 2 — Rs 26,500 crore — has been revised to Rs 32,000 crore.

BMRCL sources hope for a downward revision of the costs to Rs 30,000 crore, as the estimation was made in 2019 before awarding the works for the 13.7-km underground stretch of the Gottigere-Nagawara metro line (Reach 6).

“As we managed to get competitive bidding, we thought we can cut back the cost by Rs 2,000 crore. We could keep it around Rs 30,000 crore, if the normal pace of work is restored within the next six months,” the source said