In a development that will hinder the introduction of suburban trains to IT hubs, the Railway Board has handed over two projects — the doubling of Baiyappanahalli-Hosur and Yeshwantpur-Channasandra lines — to K-RIDE as per the state government’s demand.
Last year, the South Western Railway had invited bids for civil work on the doubling of the Baiyappanahalli-Hosur line, months after the Centre approved the Rs 376-crore proposal. Railway officials had also received approval for the Yeshwantpur-Channasandra line (21.7 km) estimated at Rs 314 crore.
The two projects were aimed at creating additional infrastructure for smooth running of trains on the section and introduce more suburban trains to the IT hubs of Bellandur, Electronics City and Whitefield.
The railways had also moved to take up the electrification of both the tracks.
However, the tendering process came to a standstill after the state government’s flip-flops on the project. In February 2018, it released funds for the railway works and said the doubling of the Hosur line was a priority project.
In July, the government made a U-turn and demanded that the project be taken up under 20:20 model with 60% of the project cost to be raised through loans.
To a question on the status of the projects, SWR Chief Administrative Officer K C Swami said both the works had been handed over to Rail infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited (K-RIDE). “The projects were handed over, as per the request from the state government,” he said.
Meanwhile, urban transport activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar slammed the state government for changing its position on the project.
“Considering that the full-fledged suburban rail project will take time to materialise, the government should have expedited the doubling projects to allow the introduction of local trains. The state government showed commitment before the elections. Unfortunately, the stance changed once the elections were over,” he said.
K-RIDE Managing Director Amit Garg said the project could be expedited. “If the SWR has invited tenders for the works, we will continue it rather than calling fresh bids. Forty per cent of equity funding will help us initiate the project immediately. We do not have to wait for the loan component,” he said.