Govt moots suburban rail on cost-sharing basis with Centre

"Total project cost is estimated at Rs 8,000 cr, State is ready to bear 50 per cent of cost"

 The State government has urged the Ministry of Railways to take up a suburban rail project connecting Bangalore with Mandya, Tumkur and Bangarpet on cost-sharing basis, Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters, he said a pre-feasibility study conducted by the government had recommended that the project be implemented in three phases. The total project cost is estimated at Rs 8,000 crore. The State government is ready to bear 50 per cent cost of the project, he added.

The project involves among others electrification, setting up an automatic signalling system, investment in facilities at terminals and rolling stock. “Union Railway Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge has responded positively to the proposal. We hope it will be included in the next Railway budget,” Sorake said.

Proposal submitted

This apart, the government has already submitted a proposal to the Railways to take up commuter rail system connecting Bangalore city with its various satellite towns.

According to official sources, suburban rail system on the Bangalore-Mandya route has been proposed under phase one, and it requires an estimated investment of Rs 950 crore. An amount of Rs 173 crore is needed for Bangalore-Bangarpet sector, including construction of additional pit lines at Baiyappanahalli and Yeshwantpur stations.

At the other end, little interest was evinced by the public representatives to discuss the project at a workshop hosted by NGO Praja RAAG, Bengaluru Needs You and IIM Bangalore at Vidhana Soudha. Barring only six legislators from Bangalore, Tumkur, Chikkaballapur, Doddaballapur, Anekal and other ‘regional’ areas, which will be helped by the commuter rail system, no one else showed up. DULT commissioner V Manjula said that even if there were six of them, it was a start. “They have come, and there has been a presence of the MLAs. We will see more participation in future,” she said.

Probe

Sorake said Deputy Commissioners of all districts have been directed to conduct a probe into the functioning of urban development authorities in their respective districts in the wake of large-scale irregularities in Mandya and Channapatna urban development authorities.

The government has already handed over the probe into the misuse of funds in these two authorities to the CBI.

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