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Push for suburban rail, Bengaluru-Chennai expressway

Trains in the project will run at a speed of 110 km and will connect busy areas like Outer Ring Road, Electronic City, Devanahalli, KSR Bengaluru City and Kengeri
jith Athrady
Last Updated : 02 February 2020, 01:57 IST
Last Updated : 02 February 2020, 01:57 IST
Last Updated : 02 February 2020, 01:57 IST
Last Updated : 02 February 2020, 01:57 IST

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There was some good news for Karnataka in the Union Budget, with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman making a mention of the Bengaluru suburban rail project and the Bengaluru-Chennai expressway in her speech on Saturday.

While Nirmala announced that work on the long-pending Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway will start this financial year, railway officials said work on the Bengaluru suburban railway is also expected to start this calendar year.

“The 148-km Bengaluru suburban rail transport project costing Rs 18,600 crore would have fares on the metro model. The Union government would provide 20% equity and facilitate external assistance of up to 60% of the project cost,” said Nirmala.

Reacting on the announcement, Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav said the railway ministry has sent the draft Cabinet note for circulation to the ministry concerned. “We expect the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) to approve the project soon and work is expected to start in the current calendar year,” he said.

Of the total project cost of Rs 18,621 crore, the Centre and state will share 20% each while 60% of the cost will be funded by financial agencies like ADB (Asian Development Bank) and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency).

To implement the project, a separate joint venture company — the Karnataka Railway Development Corporation — will be set up, he said.

Though then finance minister Arun Jaitely announced the project in his Union Budget-2018, it was delayed as the Railway Ministry had asked the state government to send a revised detailed project report to prevent overlapping with the Bengaluru Metro rail project.

Of the total land required, 327 acres from the railways and 35 acres from state government are readily available. Around 71 acres of private land will have to be acquired for the project, he said.

Trains on the project will run at a speed of 110 km per hour and it will connect busy areas like outer ring road, Electronics City, Devanahalli, KSR Bengaluru City and Kengeri.

The 262-km Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway, which was first conceived in 2011, will reduce travel time between the two cities to four hours once it is complete.

The proposed project will run through Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The highway starts from Hoskote and ends at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu where it will connect Chennai’s outer ring road.

The Finance Minister also said that the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and two more express highway projects will be completed by 2023.

The government proposes to build 22 expressways connecting major cities in different parts of the country.

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Published 01 February 2020, 14:08 IST

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