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K-RIDE seeks €800 million soft loan for Bengaluru suburban rail project

The loan will cover 60 per cent of the project cost (excluding rolling stock) and likely carry interest in the low single digits
Last Updated : 02 February 2023, 14:07 IST
Last Updated : 02 February 2023, 14:07 IST
Last Updated : 02 February 2023, 14:07 IST
Last Updated : 02 February 2023, 14:07 IST

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Bengaluru Suburban Railway Project’s (BSRP) financial requirements of Rs 15,767 crore are being met rapidly.

The Union Budget for 2023-24 on Wednesday allocated Rs 1,350 crore (Rs 450 crore in budget support and Rs 900 crore under internal and extra-budgetary resources).

Separately, Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited has sought an €800-million (Rs 7,140 crore) soft loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the German investment and development bank KfW for the project, a top official said.

The loan will cover 45 per cent of the project cost (excluding rolling stock) and likely carry interest in the low single digits. The state and central governments will each contribute 20 per cent.

Gaurav Gupta, Managing Director, K-RIDE, told DH: “So far, we have taken assistance from the equity portion of the state and central governments but that won’t be adequate for such a critical project. We approached external funding agencies (EIB and KfW) for funding to the tune of €800 million and are in advanced talks with them. We are optimistic about reaching an agreement by the middle of this year.”

According to Gupta, appraisal teams from the two banks visited Bengaluru recently and inspected the sites. “We gave them the required documents. The banks will present the proposal to their respective governments. It will be sovereign funding and routed through the government of India,” he explained. “We are in touch with them on a weekly basis.”

Financial tie-ups are crucial to expediting the 148.81-km BSRP. While groundwork started only on the 25.01-km Mallige Line (Baiyappanahalli-Chikkabanavar), the civil work tender for the 46.88-km Heelalige-Rajanukunte line was invited only on January 26. No tenders have been called for the 45.40-km Sampige Line (KSR Bengaluru-Devanahalli) and the 35.52-km Parijata Line (Kengeri-Whitefield).

Gupta said the bidding process for the Sampige and Parijata lines would start once financial tie-ups were secured. He, however, said other processes such as alignment fixation, boundary delineation, land acquisition and engineering estimates were underway for the two lines. “We are trying to see how all these processes can be expedited,” he added.

Gupta said the Rs 1,350 crore announced in the Union Budget would be adequate for the BSRP in the next financial year.

The state government is expected to announce its share of funds at the budget presentation scheduled for February 17.

40-month deadline possible?

Only two of the four lines of the BSRP are likely to be ready by the end of 2025, the deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.

A K-RIDE official said the 40-month deadline kicked in from the day Modi laid the foundation stone for the project in June 2022.

Another official spoke about issues with the project, especially in respect of coordination with the railways.

However, he insisted that they would abide by the timeframe committed to the various stakeholders.

A third official said only Mallige and Kanaka lines would be ready by December 2025, while Sampige and Parijata lines would take time.

Station work tender by Feb-end

Tenders for station construction will be invited by February-end. The plan is to invite tenders for the Mallige and Kanaka lines first. The 25.01-km Mallige Line (Baiyappanahalli-Chikkabanavar) will have 14 stations, while the 46.88-km Kanaka Line (Heelalige-Rajanukunte) will have 19 stations.

Sampige & Parijata lines

Tenders for civil works on the 45.40-km Sampige Line (KSR Bengaluru-Devanahalli) and the 35.52-km Parijata Line (Kengeri-Whitefield) will most likely be called in April, a K-RIDE official said.

That would be good news for citizens, who have been asking for the fast-tracking of the Sampige Line, which would connect the city centre with the airport.

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Published 01 February 2023, 19:54 IST

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