Bommai talks revival of high-speed rail link to airport

Karnataka CM Basavarj Bommai talks revival of high-speed rail link to airport

A government source said the announcement confused everyone, including officials as they haven’t heard of the project yet

The inaugural metro run from Nayandahalli to Kengeri in Bengaluru on Sunday. Credit: DH Photo/Pushkar V

More than three years after the state government dropped the idea of building a high-speed rail network from the city centre to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday spoke of reviving the project.

Inaugurating the Kengeri metro line in the presence of Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday, the chief minister promised that the state government would take up the high-speed rail project.

In 2018, Karnataka had decided to wind up Bangalore Airport Rail Link (BARL) Limited, a company created to implement the proposed ultra high-speed Meglev train network between Cubbon Road and the airport. With that, the high-speed rail idea buried till the chief minister dug it out on Sunday.

“The Bengaluru international airport will be unique in the world. It will have metro, suburban rail as well as high-speed train connectivity. That’s our dream. No international airport has got three (modes of connectivity). We are going to do it. I have begun all the necessary preparations,” he said.

A government source said the announcement confused everyone, including officials as they haven’t heard of the project yet. “There is no such proposal as yet,” a source said.

CBDs in four corners of city

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai spoke of developing central business districts in all the four corners of Bengaluru and promised that the present CBD would be developed as a model.

"Bengaluru has the potential to have another three to four central business districts. We have added them to our vision (document). Several projects are in the pipeline to make Bengaluru an international city in the true sense,” he said.

'B'luru represents new, tech-savvy India'

Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said the NDA government's expenditure on urban schemes had broken milestones.

In its seven-year rule, the Narendra Modi government has spent nearly seven times more money than the Rs 1.5 lakh crore spent by the Congress-led UPA in 10 years, he stated.

Praising the 99.8% punctuality of Namma Metro trains, he said Bengaluru represented the hopes and aspirations of a new, tech-savvy India and provided the template of what good urbanisation should be.

"I am confident that the 7.5-km stretch inaugurated today will help in further creating an important metro network," he said.

The BMRCL has also been asked to prepare detailed project reports on metro connectivity to Ramanagar, Rajanukunte and Magadi.

Protest after Kannada goes missing from banner

Lack of information in Kannada from the banner put up on the stage during the inauguration of the Kengeri metro line on Sunday stirred a controversy.

Kannada activists took to social media to protest the “English banner”.

Arun Javgal, of Kannada Rakshana Vedike, said: “Dropping Kannada and switching to Hindi directly will attract criticism. So they are now giving primacy to Kannada. Later, they will push it away as a foreign language and bring Hindi to the front,” he tweeted.

MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao attributed the “slight to Kannada” to the BJP’s “one-language, one-nation” agenda. “Namma Metro is a joint venture of central and state governments. So shouldn’t Kannada be prioritised?”

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox