CM bats for City suburban train

Writes to rail minister ahead of budget
Last Updated 23 February 2015, 19:49 IST

The demand for a suburban rail network for Bengaluru has got a boost with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah writing to the railway minister requesting him to include the project in the railway budget he is set to present on February 26.

The letter dated February 12, addressed to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, reads, “The proposal for (a) suburban railway has been with the railways from October 28, 2013.

The implementation of the suburban rail system will not only improve the connectivity between Bangalore and the towns in its hinterland but will also help in reducing dependence on personal vehicles and would contribute to growth along the transit corridor. I request you therefore to consider our proposal positively and communicate the approval of the railways at the earliest to this much-anticipated project. I hope that this project would be included in the ensuing (sic) railway budget.”

The letter further states that Rites Ltd, a multi-disciplinary consultancy in transport, infrastructure and related technologies under the ministry of railways, had submitted a feasibility report on the project, recommending its implementation at an estimated cost of Rs 8,759 crore. The letter adds that the Karnataka government had already formed a Bangalore Suburban Rail Corporation Ltd (BSRCL) to enable the implementation of the project and would contribute half of the project cost.

Interestingly, the letter has been sent after activists and non-profit organisations launched a campaign urging the government to take up the matter with the railways. As part of the campaign, 50 letters each were written to the BSRCL which is under the Directorate of Urban Land Transport, the chief minister, the chairman of the railway board, Union ministers D V Sadananda Gowda and Ananth Kumar, Bangalore Central MP, P C Mohan, PWD Minister H C Mahadevappa, former Union ministers M Veerappa Moily and K H Muniyappa, Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

Petition to PM

One of the activists, Sanjeev Dyamannavar, even sent a petition to the Prime Minister’s Office which referred it to the railway board for appropriate action. It must be mentioned that in February 2014, the railway board and the general manager of South Western Railway, Hubballi, had corresponded on the proposed project, seeking clarifications. In March 2014, the SWR gave its consent to the railway board to go ahead with the Bengaluru suburban rail as per a Rites report.

Prior to that in January 2014, Bangalore South MP and now Union minister Ananth Kumar had requested the then railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge to approve the proposal on priority.

(Published 23 February 2015, 19:49 IST)

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