Even though the second phase of metro construction in Bengaluru is facing huge delays, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday (5th March 2020), during the state Budget presentation, announced the introduction of two new metro corridors totalling 44 km in the city.
The Chief Minister announced that the preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) for JP Nagar-Magadi Road and Outer Ring Road-West (Magadi Road) corridors will be taken up and the two projects will be executed through public-private partnership (PPP) mode. According to BMRCL officials, the project report for the 30-km ORR-West line and 14-km Magadi Road Metrolite will be drawn up in a few months.
The Outer Ring Road Metro project will connect Hebbal and JP Nagar, helping ease congestion on ORR. The idea of two lines was earlier floated by the metro authorities themselves but never made it to the drawing board due to lack of funds. This is the first time the public-private model has been proposed for a Metro rail project in Bangaluru.
So far, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) has handled the works by involving contractors. Under the proposed model, an eligible private company can build and run Metro systems. The airport Metro line in Delhi and sections of Hyderabad and Mumbai Metro were constructed under this model. With the mooted PPP model failing in other states, activists have raised doubts about whether this would prove to be feasible.
Metro rail projects are mostly financed by central and state governments with loans from financial institutions. “Whether private firms will entirely build, operate and maintain Metro systems will be decided based on a project’s financial viability and ridership estimation,” a BMRCL official said.
Metrolite is a transit system with smaller coaches, like monorail. It is cheaper than regular Metro. “The construction of 56-km line, from Central Silk Board to Kempegowda International Airport via KR Puram and Hebbal, at an estimated cost of Rs 14,500 crore will commence in 2020-21,” Yediyurappa said.
At present Bengaluru has a 42.3 km network as part of Phase 1 of the metro network. As part of Phase 2 which is under construction, the Purple Line will be extended from Mysore Road to Challaghatta and from Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield. Similarly, the Green Line will be extended from Yelachenahallit to Anjanapura and from Nagasandra to Tumakuru Road. With the new lines — Yellow Line will connect RV Road to Bommasandra and Pink Line will connect Gottigere to Nagawara.
The chief minister also said that Mysuru Road-Kengeri and Yelechenahalli-Anjanapura township corridors would be commissioned this year. Road cross-over facilities for non-Metro commuters will be provided at 24 metro stations.
Yediyurappa further said a feasibility study will be taken up to develop an ‘Integrated Multi-Modal Transport Hub’ in the outskirts of Bengaluru city, with private partnership in order to reduce heavy vehicle density in the city.
With regards to the contentious draft mobility plan floated by the metro authority, the CM said for the first time a comprehensive mobility programme for Bengaluru has been prepared, and that there will be regulatory measures put in place with an objective of increasing the utilization of public transport from 48% to 73%.