Bengaluru: Metro's Phase 1 deadline of April 2017 may be fast approaching but the links seem to be progressing slower than expected. A reality check of a couple of stations showed they are far from ready yet.
For instance, at the Chickpet Station a lot of civil work is still in progress for the underground station. Also, while Phase-1, which includes 42.3 kms of the North South and East West corridors, connects Mysore Road to Baiyappanahalli on the Purple line and Nagasandra to Puttenahalli on the Green Line, two sections, the Mantri Square to Kempegowda and Kempegowda to Puttenahalli, have still not been connected.
However, dismissing all fears, the BMRCL is still hoping to run the trials on the lines under Phase I by mid- February as planned. Not willing to buy this, civic activists like Mr. Srinidhi of Praja RAAG remain sceptical.
"At the City Market Station a lot of earth work is still being done. Also, there are some prerequisites for trials like energizing the third rail, which carries the power for running the metro and signalling. But you can still see the drilling work and pouring of concrete in progress," he observed.
Pointing out that the trials to test the links will take two months and the inspection by the railways safety commissioner another two or three months, he argues the deadline of April is unlikely to be met.
"Even if they did perform trial runs with a battery operated train, after the safety inspection, there will be faults to rectify and changes to be made, which could take longer," agrees traffic expert, MN Sreehari.
When contacted, BMRCL Managing Director, Pradeep Kharola however, claimed the work at Chickpet and KR Market was in full swing.
“The underground portions are ready. Only the outside work is still going on and this will be done by mid- March. Rest assured, BMRCL will stick to its deadline and commuters don’t need to worry,” he said.
Insisting that the underground trial runs would start mid- February and carry on for around one-and-a-half months, he added, "We cannot tell how long the safety inspection will take, but it is usually fast and not difficult."
As for the BMRCL receiving a lot of flak for not connecting the Mantri Square Sampige Road line with the Kempegowda station, he said," The power cables have been installed. The signalling wires are being drawn and the station is almost done."
Also, most of the third rail, which energises the metro for operation, was done on the Green line, leaving only small portions in between, he maintained....