Finance dept pushed for Metro realignment

Finance dept pushed for Metro realignment

As the controversy over realignment of Namma Metro’s Phase II line between Gottigere and Nagavara garners a response not solicited by the implementing authorities, it has emerged that it was the Finance Department which pushed for the decision.

N Sivasailam, Managing Director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), had warned on March 7 about “protracted litigation” which may delay the project, when the decision to realign was taken by the high-power committee (HPC).

Going by discussions at the meeting that gave the go-ahead for realignment near Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research (SJICSR), the BMRCL was firm on sticking to the original alignment, the detailed project report (DPR) for which was approved.

But Ajay Seth, the then Principal Secretary, Finance, argued: “As SJICSR is a reputable institute of public health and a jewel in Karnataka’s crown, other options, which do not affect the hospital, could be considered.”

The minutes of the meeting, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, quote Seth as saying: “...For locating the stations, JICSR should be left untouched, even if it involves spending more on land acquisition and demolitions.”

He had even assured that the State government would support the BMRCL in all respects, including providing additional funds to ensure that the HPC decision is implemented.

Sivasailam had submitted that the new option would involve disturbing eight huge buildings, including Gopalan Mall, On Mobile building, Infosys, a marriage hall, Bescom building, and a Raymond store.

“The cost of the additional land acquisition and the demolition are estimated at Rs 124.64 crore. There is a strong likelihood of protracted litigation which may stall or delay the project besides escalating the cost on account of delay and litigation,” the minutes quote him as saying.

The best option, Sivasailam suggested, could be to skip the station as the entire line may get stalled on account of litigation resulting in huge negative fallout for the project and the “public”.

Seth, however, discounted the warning, and argued that the litigations, as and when they come, “will be dealt with on merit, as in case of any other project.” On Thursday, the BMRCL maintained that no decision was taken unilaterally. “We are a government organisation.

We do not take any independent decision. The government and its policies govern us,” its spokesperson B L Y Chavan told Deccan Herald.

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