Ahead of the elections, the state government has given a big push to the much delayed Bengaluru suburban rail project by sanctioning the release of 20% of its equity share to the Ministry of Railways.
The state Cabinet on Wednesday approved the release of Rs 349 crore (matching share) to the Railways for initiating works under Phase 1(A) of the three-phase project - the projected cost of which is Rs 10,292 crore.
Phase 1(A) of the project is being implemented in two stages at an estimated cost of Rs 1,745 crore.
According to the agreement between the Railways and Karnataka in January 2017, the two parties will contribute 20% each (Rs 349 crore each) to the project cost. A proposal was also made to establish a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in tune with the Suburban Policy of the Railways.
The Cabinet also approved the launch of the SPV. Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the balance amount of Rs 1,047 crore will be raised by the SPV.
This administrative decision will help Railways add 58 new suburban trains, which translates to 116 new services. This is said to double the existing suburban rail capacity in three years by more than two lakh commuters.
Also, the long-standing demand for doubling and electrification works on the Baiyappanahalli and Hosur line, will be met under this. Doubling and electrification works will also be taken up on the Yeshwantpur-Baiyappanahalli-Channasandra line.
The Railways will also install automatic signalling on three corridors, including Bengaluru-Mandya and Yeshwantpur-Tumakuru, helping it run more services eventually. The money will also be used to purchase new coaches, added officials.
Conversion of 15 pairs of conventional/DEMU (diesel-electric multiple units) rakes to MEMU (mainline electric multiple units) at Rs 278 crore (1,385 km); augmentation of maintenance facility for MEMU rakes at Banaswadi at Rs 25 crore; introduction of new service in peak hours between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield at Rs 41.2 crore; are some of the important works under this phase.
The cabinet also approved the upgradation of 363 existing traffic signals in Bengaluru city and the installation of 100 new Vehicle Actuated Traffic Signals (VATS), under B-TRAC, at an estimated cost of Rs 85.34 crore. Presently there are 400 signals in the city - 363 are fixed time cycle signals and the remaining are VATS.
The amount will also be utilised for installing synchronised pedestrian lights and "street furniture".