After years of waiting, work on the 148-km suburban rail link for Bengaluru is slated to begin in three months. The State government has decided to invite the Prime Minister for the function, said Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Thursday, after reviewing progress of the doubling project between Cantonment and Heelalige. He travelled in a self-propelled inspection car for a distance of 31 km.
The suburban rail project has four corridors: KSR Bengaluru – Devanahalli (41 km), Baiyappanahalli – Chikkabanavara (25.14 km), Kengeri – Whitefield (35.52 km), and Heelalige – Rajankunte (46.24 km).
“I will request the Prime Minister to lay the foundation stone and I am 100% confident that he will come. The Union government has given approval for raising ₹7,000 crore loan for the project,” said Mr. Yediyurappa.
Work will be taken up on the Baiyappanahalli-Chikkabanavara and Heelalige-Rajankunte corridors, and it will be completed in three and a half years, said a senior official. “Around 88% of the land required for the project is readily available. That is one of the major advantages we have with the project. The designing and financial modules have been approved. Tenders will be floated for construction work and in three months works will start,” said the official.
The completion of elevated sections will be prioritised. “However, carrying out construction work on the same corridors where Indian Railways is operational is one of the major challenges,” he added.
The suburban rail project is estimated to cost ₹15,767 crore. Both the State and Union governments will each bear 20% of the cost, while the remaining 60% will be raised through external sources. The State government has already released ₹400 crore.
The Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Ltd. (K-RIDE), which is executing the suburban rail project, has undertaken doubling work on two sections: Baiyappanahalli – Hosur and Yeshwantpur – Channasandra. The two doubling projects were sanctioned in the 2018-19, with 50:50 cost sharing by the State government and the Railways. The year 2023 has been set as the deadline to complete the work. The 48-km Baiyappanahalli to Hosur section line doubling is estimated to cost ₹499 crore. The State government has released ₹65 crore towards the project. Various factors during the second wave of COVID-19, from construction workers returning home to shortage of construction material, affected its progress.
The doubling of the 22-km Yeshwanthpur-Channasandra section is estimated to cost ₹315 crore. K-RIDE has awarded tenders related to civil works and others.