Centre approves Bengaluru suburban rail project

Centre approves Bengaluru suburban rail project

Representative image: iStock Photo

The Centre on Wednesday approved the Bengaluru suburban rail project, estimated to cost around Rs 19,000 crore, and fulfilled a long-pending demand of the IT city.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the 148-km-long project, which is aimed at decongesting Bengaluru, sources in the government told DH.

However, due to the model code of conduct in force for the Assembly byelections in Karnataka, the government deferred its announcement.

When asked to elaborate on the project at the weekly Cabinet press briefing, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that due to the code of conduct, he can’t say anything on this issue.

According to the revised DPR, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be set up to implement the project and both the Railway Ministry and state government will have equity in it.

The Union government would provide 20% of the equity in the project and facilitate external financial assistance of up to 60% of the project cost. The Karnataka government will have to share the remaining 20% equity.

The suburban rail network will have four corridors: KSR Bengaluru City-Devanahalli, Byappanahalli-Chikkabanavara, Kengeri-Cantonment-Whitefield and Heelalige-Rajanukunte.

The revised project proposes 57 suburban railway stations covering a distance of 148.17 km. Besides dropping at least 24 stations from the original report, the revised DPR has also cut down the number of elevated stations from 31 to 22.

The suburban railway is likely to be fully operational around 2026 since approximately seven years are required for land acquisition and construction.

The suburban rail stations will integrate with at least 10 metro stations including Yeshwantpur, Kengeri, Cantonment, Whitefield, K R Puram, Baiyappanhalli, Jnanabharathi and Nayandahalli. The fare structure will be similar to that of the Metro rail, said sources.

With the suburban rail network providing seamless connectivity to all towns surrounding Bengaluru, it is expected that once it is complete, it would greatly help decongest Bengaluru,  which is facing severe traffic snarls, said an official in the Indian Railways.