Bangalore Metro’s underground line troubles far from over

Even though the contracts for civil works on the underground line of Phase II have already been awarded, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) is still struggling to acquire all the land required for the 14-km stretch. While the delay has irked the construction companies, the officials are hopeful of settling the land dispute within a month’s time.

Due to the delay in land acquisition, construction work has been primarily affected for stations in Vellara junction, Langford Town and Bamboo Bazaar, near Cantonment. While the 2137.334 sqm of land in Langford belongs to the Defence Ministry, the 3797.271 sqm of land near Vellara Junction belongs to the century-old All Saints Church.

“We have resolved land acquisition issues of the entire 14-km stretch except in two places. The BMRCL just got the custody of BBMP land which is required to build a station in Bamboo Bazaar. We hope to complete the entire land acquisition process for the Phase II project in a month,” Channapa Goudar, Special Land Acquisition Officer at BMRCL said.

The Church has, however, continued its opposition to acquiring its premises. While the BMRCL has planned to take possession of around 3,700 sqm of land, the members of the church want the Namma Metro officials to reduce the length of the station in order to avoid any damage to its premises. They cited an example from Delhi Metro where a station’s length was reduced to 161 metres from the originally proposed 265 metres after public opposition.

TBMs to arrive in February

While the land dispute lingers on, the BMRCL is all set to get four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) from China by February this year. Due to the availability of huge space, L&T has planned to lower two TBMs at Shivaji Nagar and tunnel towards Vellara junction). The other two will start tunnelling from Cantonment towards Shivaji Nagar. It will then be dismantled and lowered again at Cantonment to tunnel towards Pottery Town.

The work on the remaining 7-km stretch of the 14-km underground stretch between Swagath Road and Vellara as well as between Pottery Town and Nagawara is yet to pick up as the contracts were awarded in October last year. As per the tender conditions, Afcons is expected to deploy 2 TBMs while ITD will deploy 3 TBMs.

According to BMRCL estimates, the entire 14-km project, which passes through the heart of Bengaluru, is expected to be ready by 2024.

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