The Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) recently submitted a revised detailed project report (DPR) on the suburban rail network. According to the report, RITES have decided to drop as many as 29 stations due to which the number of stations has been reduced from 86 to 62 and the length has also been shortened by 12.33km. The good news is that this will make commuting cheaper and shorter for the Bengalureans.
The alignment of five corridors will have a length of 148 km. “As per the PMO’s directions, the stations proposed inside the city have been eliminated, reducing the requirement for land and saving the cost. Changes have been made in the corridor alignment for the benefit of people commuting from outside the city rather than the core area,” said a source of South Western Railway.
Project Cost Reduced After Revised DPR
The revision in the DPR was made as per the instructions made by the central government to the Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited in May this year. The central government had instructed the company to try reducing the number of stations so that the overlapping of suburban rail with Namma Metro alignments in Bengaluru can be avoided.
The central government also directed the company to explore the possibilities of extending the railway network to Tumakuru, Ramanagara, Doddaballapura and other cities in the vicinity. According to sources in the Railways, the revised DPR has led to a reduction in certain sections as well as the cost of the project. Previously the cost of the project was estimated to Rs.19,000 crore. But the revised DPR has estimated the cost now to Rs.16,000 crore.
Sources in the Railways said, “The RITES has submitted a revised report to the SWR. The same will be submitted to the Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited, which will send the report to the Railway Board for clearance. There are certain revisions in the new report, like reducing the number of stations, minimizing the land acquisition, and bringing down the project cost. The Railway Board will take a final decision on the issue.”
BMRCL’s Objection Led To Revision In DPR
The suburban rail network project had proposed the building of four corridors. These included Kengeri-Whitefield, KSR Bengaluru City-Rajanukunte, Nelamangala-Baiyyappanahalli, and Heelalige-Devenahalli. But the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) had objected to a few sections of the network by saying that they will run parallel to the existing metro lines. That is why in the revised DPR, RITES have dropped several stations that are on the Nelamangala-Baiyappanahalli alignment.
Earlier in its letter to the agency central government had asked to take into consideration the implementation of individual point-to-point projects through public-private partnerships. The central government has already asked the State government as well as the Union Ministry of Railways to ensure that the PPP model is facilitated by offering viability gap fund (VGF), surplus land parcels, and revenue share models.