Rly Board still waiting for suburban rail DPR

Hopes of inclusion of project in Railway Budget fade

Rly Board still waiting for suburban rail DPR

The much-delayed suburban rail project for Bengaluru might not find a mention even in this year’s Railway Budget. Barely 10 days before the Budget, the Railway Board is yet to take a decision. Reason: It has still not received the detailed project report (DPR) prepared by the State government and other technical details, a request for which was sent by the Railway Ministry in August 2015.

Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha had written a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on August 14, 2015, seeking the DPR. In response to a Right To Information query, the Railway Board on Monday submitted that it was yet to get a response from the government. However, a top government official said all the required documents were furnished and necessary clarifications given to the South Western Railway (SWR).

Informed sources questioned the rationale behind sending the documents to SWR headquarters in Hubballi when all the issues could have been sorted out in a direct meeting with the board. Till date, no such meeting has been held, the sources said.

Sinha’s letter had acknowledged receipt of the feasibility report (prepared by consultancy firm RITES) submitted by the State government. The report had been examined by the SWR. But it lacked technical details, and clarifications were sought. “The report has not indicated constraints and bottlenecks in executing the work, assessment of acquisition of land and demolition of built-up area, analysis of dislocation of existing services, comments on codal provisions during yard remodeling, etc,” the minister said in his letter. 

Sources said the feasibility report was prepared by retired railway personnel without a thorough understanding of the ministry’s requirements on technicalities. 

RITES had submitted its 179-page final report in November 2012, proposing three long routes and four short-distance routes. The total rail network proposed was 440.9 km, including Bengaluru-Mandya (92.88 km), Bengaluru-Bangarpet (70.21 km) and Bengaluru-Tumakuru (64 km). 

The State Budget of 2013-14 proposed the setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle, Bangalore Suburban Rail Corporation Limited. However, the matter was not followed up with the Railway Board. Successive railway budgets entirely skipped the issue, delaying the launch of a project with a huge potential to decongest Bengaluru. 

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