Delay in Metro Phase I makes JICA think twice on funding Phase II

'In India, infrastructure projects take too much time'

Delay in Metro Phase I makes JICA think twice on funding Phase II

Hurdles may be ahead for Namma Metro. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), one of the prominent funding agencies for Phase I of the mega project, may think twice on investing in Phase II due to delay in completion of Phase I. 

The JICA’s deputy chief representative, Ichiguchi Tomohide, who was in Bangalore on Thursday, told Deccan Herald in an exclusive interview: “We are aware of the delay in completion of Phase I of the Metro mainly due to slow progress on the underground stations and poor performance by the contractors. The overall project progress is fine, but we may say that for funding of Phase II, the Phase I should be completed first.” 

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is yet to send the JICA a proposal seeking funds for Phase II. Meanwhile, BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola said: “The project has been indeed slow on the North-South Corridor of Phase I due to underground stations and tunneling work. As of now, we have funds to start the work on Phase II and later we can see, as and how it progresses, on the funds.” 

Tomohide, however, reiterated that the JICA will fund four new projects in the State: Peripheral Ring Road, in collaboration with the Department of Urban Land Transport and the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA); Intelligent Transport System for Bangalore in collaboration with the Transport Department, traffic police and other agencies; Industrial Sector in Vasantha Narsapur in Tumkur, and the Karnataka Investment Promotion Programme for improving the investment climate through sector loan for infrastructure development and loan programme for industrial policy implementation. 

“For taking up the Shiradi Ghat project, which includes making transportation easier and improving the road network, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is going to undertake a short-term feasibility study and the report will be submitted in March so that the JICA can decide on how much funds it can release for this project.”
 Tomohide said that the JICA was satisfied with the overall progress on the projects for which it had provided financial assistance in the State. But in general, across India, to acquire land for infrastructure development projects, too many permissions are required and this takes too much time. Because of this problem, many foreign companies which have set up base are also suffering. “We hope these are temporary/short-term problems and will be resolved soon,” he averred. 

Referring to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s (BWSSB) water supply and distribution system in which the JICA has invested, Ichiguchi said that the Board’s water distribution project was progressing well but the progress on sewage disposal was slow. The JICA wants to provide assistance for developing the new source for water as well as distributing it. 

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