BDA undervalued PRR cost by Rs 8,000 cr, says NHAI

BDA undervalued PRR cost by Rs 8,000 cr, says NHAI

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) underestimated the cost of building the 65-km  Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) by as much as Rs 8,000 crore, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has claimed.  

More than a decade after proposing the project, the state government could not mobilise funds for  it  owing to rising land prices.  In 2016, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah met the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari,  and requested that the NHAI take over the project.

"We had sent a proposal estimating the cost at  Rs 12,000 crore, of which around Rs 8,000 crore was for land acquisition and the rest for building the 8-lane road. Since it provides a bypass for NH7 and NH4, it can be taken up by the Centre," BDA engineer member P N Nayak said.

Following a directive from the ministry, NHAI officials conducted a land survey and submitted a report. "We found that the cost of the land is about Rs 18,000 crore. Under the new land acquisition act, the prices of land along the PRR alignment have soared. We have sent a report to the ministry with the project cost estimated at Rs 20,000," NHAI regional officer Y Venkatareddy Prasad.

When asked about the cost  underestimate,  BDA officials said the price of the land wouldn't go that high. "We are confident that the land price is about Rs 8,000 crore," they said.  

The NHAI considered taking up the project way back in 2007-08 following a proposal from the state government. "We prepared a detailed project report. But the government dropped the project. It has been proposed again a decade later," an NHAI official said.

With the Centre now choosing the Satellite Town Ring Road under the Bharatmala project, the NHAI is unlikely to build the PRR. The state, meanwhile, has formed a special purpose vehicle to fund the PRR project. It is yet to be seen whether the initiative will get the Rs 20,000-crore push.

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