Rail Budget 2014: Has Karnataka's own abandoned it? Gowda forgets incomplete metro here

Sadananda Gowda
Bangalore, July 11: The railway minister Sadananda Gowda may have done a splendid job with the rail budget, announcing 58 new trains including 5 new Jansadharans, 5 premium trains, 6 AC express, 27 express trains, 8 passenger trains, 2 MEMU trains and 5 DEMUs. He has also announced the repair and refurbishment of old tracks, apart from laying new one's; but, he never mentioned the fate of Bangalore's incomplete metro rail that lies deserted in the middle of the city, presenting a sorry picture of the Silicon Valley of India.

But wasn't he the former chief minister of the state and the son of the soil? Probably, a gentle nudge would remind his duties toward us. Sir, it is not that we are not worried about the overall railway system and connectivity, but would you like if the state you belong to cannot be set as an example for the country? How can the common man trust you?

Call it an irony, you have proposed bullet trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and superfast trains in Lucknow and other major cities, but you did not bother to issue a statement regarding the completion of a basic amenity here?

The wait continues

The plan for metro connection was conceived in 1993 as a PPP. The delay started in the intial phase itself. The detailed project report of Phase 1 itself took 10 years to complete and was submitted in 2003. It took 3 more years for the final approval on a scheme that incorporated the expertise of DMRC and RITES Limited.

Thereafter started the number crunches. The 32 kilometer long Phase I metro project, despite funds from the government started running cost escalations, that turned into loans. The Union Cabinet approved Phase I of the Namma Metro in April 2006 when it was estimated to cost INR54 billion (US$910 million). The cost escalated to INR116.09 billion (US$2.0 billion) as various problems delayed the completion.

BMRCL received INR7 billion (US$120 million) from Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), INR250 million (US$4.2 million) from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), 23% from the Central Government, 33% from the State Government and the rest as a INR49.05 billion (US$820 million) loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The Phase 1 project was supposed to be fully operational in 2013, which was postponed till 2015.

The Phase-2 was drafted in 2011 and it has received funds worth INR 270 billion. The project is yet to start.

Dear Mr Minister, it's upto you now to decide the fate of Bangaloreans. Of course, we would not complain if you didn't so or say anything. Afterall, we haven't been complaining for the past 20 years.

OneIndia News

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