Namma Metro had a rather inquisitive passenger on Friday morning, interacting with his co-travellers and seeking their feedback on the ride from Sampige Road to Rajajinagar and back. The passenger was none other than Union Minister of Urban Development, M Venkaiah Naidu.
Speaking to reporters later, Naidu said he was satisfied with the progress of the Metro project. “The Phase-I of Namma Metro will be completed by September 2015 and hopefully Bangalore will be decongested substantially. Bangalore is getting congested day by day and Metro is the solution as there is not much scope for widening the roads,” he said.
Naidu further said that Phase-I had been delayed because of the tunnelling work which was “a very delicate job and has to be done meticulously”. “Progress is slow on the tunneling work, especially in the south-bound tunnel measuring 955 metres. The tunneling work has to be done in some of the busiest areas such as Chickpet which is why it is taking so long.” Some of the tunneling work has now been given to another contractor and it will pick up pace, he added.
As far as Phase-II is concerned, preliminary work such as land acquisition and geo testing of soil has already started. The Phase-II will take five years to complete from the date of commencement. “So far more, than two crore people have taken a ride on Namma Metro and in the past three years, there has been no breakdown in the Metro which is commendable,” he said.
The Union minister further said that given the fact that no Metro rail would be self-sustainable with only the traffic revenue, there was a need to think out of the box and explore generating non-traffic revenue. “The station premises can be used for commercial purpose to recover the high costs,” he added.
Asked about the High Speed Rail (HSR) or a regular train to provide connectivity to the Kempegowda International Airport, the minister said all projects such as the Bus Rapid Transit System or a separate corridor or even HSR could be considered.