Modi to launch suburban rail work: Kumaraswamy

Suburban Network

The state government will give all clearances for Bengaluru’s suburban rail project in three days and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be invited to lay the foundation stone within a month, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said on Thursday.

Kumaraswamy, who discussed the project with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in Delhi, told reporters that he has instructed the chief secretary to “give clearances to all demands made by the railways within three days”.

“The Railway Minister promised that if the state government gives its clearances for certain demands made by the railways, the Ministry would start the projects soon. I have instructed the Chief Secretary to give clearances to all demands made by railways within three days,” he said, adding that the government will invite the prime minister to lay the foundation stone “this major project” aimed at reducing congestion in Bengaluru city.

The announcement comes even as the state government is yet to reply to the railways’ cost-sharing proposal for the project estimated at Rs 17,147.20 crore. Senior railway officials said there were several issues, ranging from land acquisition to setting up a special purpose vehicle on which the state has to clarify its stance.

Kumaraswamy said the railway minister promised to take the matter to Niti Ayog for its approval. “The minister also assured us that funds will be allocated for the project in the coming Union budget,” he said.

The feasibility report conducted by Rail India Technical and Economic Services (Rites Ltd) contains four corridors, which includes a Rs 61.12-km elevated stretch. It also suggests a link to Kempegowda International Airport, though it is not included in the main proposal.

The chief minister said that since the suburban railway network for the IT city has been pending for long, once the project completes it would help to boost the GDP of Bengaluru city. The proposed rail network connects the centre of the city with six suburban centres — Whitefield, Heelalige, Kengeri, Nelamangala, Rajanukunte and Devanahalli.

There will be 81 stations, including 52 new stations. The feasibility report stresses on the need for integration of different modes of transport, from inter-city rail to Metro, buses and private commercial transport.

Officials say the complete project may take more than 10 years for implementation but works at several pockets would be completed much earlier. Among other works, the railways have already called tenders for doubling of Hosur line and quadrupling of Whitefield line which will help run more trains.

According to the report, the corridor will have the capacity to carry nearly 10 lakh people every day by 2025, offering an alternative mode of transport to a huge number of people who suffer due to congestion on roads.

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Modi to launch suburban rail work: Kumaraswamy

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