Cabinet nod for new metro line in Bengaluru

New route from Silk Board to K R Puram will cost over Rs 4,000 crore.

Bengaluru: Boosting connectivity to Bengaluru’s IT corridor, the Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the '4,202 crore Metro Rail line connecting the Central Silk Board to K R Puram.

Speaking to reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T. B. Jayachandra said the line's detailed project report had been made public for comments and would be reviewed by the Cabinet, which would ensure its speedy implementation.

"The Metro line between Central Silk Board and K R Puram is vital as this stretch on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) has been identified as a potential growth sector considering the economic, demographic and spatial factors. But currently IT professionals are forced to waste several hours in traffic while commuting to and from their workplaces every day, affecting employee productivity and reducing overall economic efficiency in the IT corridor," he pointed out.

The new Metro line, which is part of Phase II A, will cover a distance of 17 km and have 13 stations enroute. It is expected to reduce traffic density on the stretch dotted by information technology companies, which have a workforce of over 10 lakh.

Currently, the average speed on this stretch of the ORR is less than 10 km/hr during peak hours and nearly 20 accidents are reported from here every day.
The Central Silk Board- K R Puram connectivity is seen as the missing link in the city's Namma Metro network. Besides depending on external borrowing and Central sponsorship, the government is looking for innovative ways to raise Rs 1,000 crore for the project.

Who will it benefit?
The IT corridor running from Electronic City to Bommasandra, ITPL and Whitefield will be the biggest beneficiary of the new Metro Rail link. Said one employee of a start-up in the area, Deepak, " When I first moved to Bengaluru, I tried to avoid the Silk Board area. And as my office is in BTM layout, I chose a house nearby. But I still need to travel to Marathahalli, Whitefield and Electronic City for meetings. It takes an hour to get there through the Silk Board. With the Metro Rail link, my travel time could fall to 15 or 20 minutes. It will be a huge help.”

Techie Sukriti, who works at the Prestige Tech Park, however believes that commuters need an alternative route to get to their destinations because the construction of the Metro Rail will take up space. “There will be a lot more traffic jams,” she said.

The BMRCL may not find it easy to raise funds for the new Metro Rail link. While the Governor had announced a while ago that Rs 1000 crore would be raised through innovative funding for the project, BMRCL’s chief public relations officer, Vasanth Rao explained that the plan was to raise funds by leasing out properties on the road adjoining the Metro link on the CSB-KR Puram stretch. “The property values will go up because of the Metro connectivity, and we will get a share," he explained.

Srinidhi, a member of Praja RAAG, an advocacy group, feels any move to force the public to pay for such projects, in addition to their taxes is stretching things too far.

"The property owners pay their taxes. Will they be okay paying more for the Metro link, which is a government project?" he asks,also arguing that the elevated road will only help vehicles move faster. “ Someone travelling from Basavangudi to KR Puram will be able to take the metro only from RV Road. He may prefer to drive all the way instead, " he points out.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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