Railways

Bengaluru suburban rail project back on track?

BENGALURU: A special purpose vehicle (SPV), to implement the `11,000-crore Suburban Rail Project for Bengaluru, is likely to be set up in the next three months.

The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) is tasked with initiating the process, reports The Economic Times.

“All the preliminary work to create the SPV will be complete in the next one month. We are in talks with Railways on how to go about the project in the context of the new suburban rail policy.The SPV will be es tablished in the next two or three months,“ DULT Commissioner Darpan Jain confirmed to ET.

Almost a year ago, RITES, a Government of India undertaking, had submitted the detailed project report for phase-1A of the project.The total capital cost for the implementation of “Bengaluru Suburban Rail System“ -proposed to be taken up in three phases -is projected at Rs 10,929 crore. While Stage 1 of Phase, 1A is expected to cost Rs 615 crore, Stage 2 and `Beyond Phase-1A ‘ is estimated to cost Rs 1,812 crore and Rs 8,502 crore respectively. It was only in January that a MoU was signed between the Ministry of Railways and the Karnataka government to (also) take up the suburban railway project.

Other elements in the MoU include conversion of 15 pairs of conventionalDEMU rakes to MEMU rakes (Rs 278 crore), augmenting maintenance facility for MEMU rakes at Banaswadi (Rs 25 crore) and introduction of new service during peak hours between Baiyappanahalli and Whitefield (Rs 41.2 crore). The MoU requires the state government to bear 80% of the total `345 crore.

The state government will be floating tenders to procure the new electric trains after approval by the Railways. “We might invite bids in the next one month, and it will take about a year to manufacture these rakes,“ Jain added.

Commuter rail activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said the suburban rail project is being delayed due to administrative inefficiency and lack of political pressure.

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