Bengaluru Metro commuters may be feeling disappointed after the deadline for extending the northern corridor beyond Nagasandra station by 3km was pushed to January 2022.
Construction work on the elevated Nagasandra-Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) corridor began in 2017 and was slated to be completed in 27 months (by mid-2019). The deadline was first extended to 2020 and later to 2021. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) officials blamed land acquisition issues for the delay.
BMRCL records show less than half (44%) of the civil work has been completed so far on Nagasandra-BIEC section. The extension is expected to provide Metro connectivity to thousands of passengers on the city outskirts and ensure smoother access to places like Jindal Naturecure Institute and BIEC.
The Rs 298-crore contract to build stations at Manjunathanagar, Chikkabidarkallu (Jindal) and BIEC (Madavara) on the extended stretch under Phase 2 was awarded in February 2017. BMRCL sources said there was a delay in getting the required land from agencies like Jindal, BIEC, NHAI and Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE). It is yet to receive land from NICE.
“This stretch was supposed to be completed before the Mysuru Road and Kanakapura Road extended sections, which will be operational this year. The contractor’s poor financial condition is also a cause of worry,” said a BMRCL source.
Sources said NICE has approached the high court against the compensation of its land evaluated by Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board. Chief minister BS Yediyurappa recently asked BMRCL to deposit the amount in court and start work on the NICE land.
Tumakuru Road is a major thoroughfare that connects Bengaluru with other parts of the state, besides Maharashtra. It is used by hundreds of intercity bus operators. Earlier, there was a proposal to stop buses on the outskirts.
India’s Metro Man and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s principal adviser E Sreedharan had said a day’s delay in operationalising Metro would cost BMRCL about Rs 1.5 crore. Regular commuters to areas beyond Nagasandra say the project should be expedited. “Those who come to BIEC from the city have to get down at Nagasandra and rely on illegal shared autos. I don’t know why this small section is still incomplete,” said Ramesh Kumar, a commuter.
Anchepalya residents demand Metro station
Meanwhile, for two months now, residents of Anchepalya, beyond Nagasandra, on Tumakuru Road, have been protesting in a makeshift tent, demanding construction of a Metro station in their area. The protesters have threatened to halt ongoing work on the 3-km section of Nagasandra-BIEC section and also block Tumakuru Road if their demand is not met.
Residents feel they have been betrayed. Mukesh D, a resident, said a Metro station had been earlier planned at Anchepalya. “It would have benefited those living in and around Anchepalya and Totadaguddadahalli,” he said.
“The distance between Nagasandra and Madavara (BIEC) is 3.5km and the first two stations planned — Manjunathanagar and Chikkabidarakallu — are within one km. Normally, there should be a Metro station every 1 km. BIEC station is more than 2km from Chikkabidarakallu,” said Khadar Pasha, another resident. T Srinivas, who is leading the protest, said, “We will soon approach the high court and also block the highway if they continue to ignore our demand.”
Srikantapura panchayat president Venkatesh M said, “Sufficient land is available at Anchepalya to set up a station. We want to know whether BMRCL’s priority is common people or private real estate firms. Most Anchepalya residents are daily-wage employees.”
A senior BMRCL official said: “The detailed project report never envisaged a station at Anchepalya. The station planned at the playground of Jindal school was shifted towards the east to save the playground and school buildings.”