Suburban rail, electric bus purchase get nod

Last Updated 26 February 2019, 19:42 IST

The Cabinet has given in-principle approval to the detailed project report for Bengaluru’s suburban rail project and a go-ahead for the work. It has also approved a proposal to purchase 80 electric buses for the city.

The report was prepared by Rites Limited, an engineering consultancy company. The conditions and suggestions put forth by the railways have also been incorporated in the proposal and have been approved.

Sources in the government said the clearance was given to lay new rail lines for 161 km, but for connectivity to satellite towns, it was decided that the existing railway network will continue.

“In case of satellite towns, it was said that the DPR needs to be revised as there were problems in alignment. Hence, until this is finalised, the existing lines, which are used by long-distance, passenger and goods trains, will be used. This would also lead to reduced frequency of suburban rail services to the outskirts, when compared to that of the network within city limits,” the source said.

The government has not yet set any timeline to execute the project as another round of discussions with railways needs to be held on land acquisition and connectivity to satellite towns.

“The Cabinet also decided that the state government will bear the land acquisition cost for constructing depots and acquiring private land. The land for the new lines for the suburban rail in the city will be laid parallel to the existing rail corridors where railways will have to part with their land. The cost-sharing for land acquisition between the state government and the railways is yet to be finalised,” the source said.

It was also decided that the state and Union governments will have 20% equity in the project and the rest of the amount will be raised in the form of loans from external agencies. The government has also agreed to hold talks with Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), which had shown interest in funding the project. It was also decided to create a special purpose vehicle, comprising state and Union government officials along with railways to decide on the details, the source added.

(Published 26 February 2019, 18:37 IST)

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