BENGALURU: BOWING to pressure from civic activists , Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) on Thursday made public the Detailed Project Report of the entire 72.1 km Phase-II, which were readied in 2011. The BMRCL Managing Director maintained that it was done only because it wanted to be transparent. Metro MD Pradeep Singh Kharola had earlier repeatedly stressed that agreements with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited, which prepared the DPRs prevented it from making them public. Asked if it was now doing it because of activists, Kharola said, “We wanted to be transparent.” Sanjeev V Dyamannavar of online forum, Praja.in, who had been requesting for the DPRs repeatedly for nearly a year through mails and public forums commended the move by BMRCL. “It is a good move. It will give information to the public on the execution of the projects.”
It will also help BMRCL carry out the projects transparently, he added. A single DPR running to 432 pages covers these four Phase-I extension lines: Reach 1: Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield (15.5 km, 14 stations); Reach 2: Mysuru Road Terminal to Kengeri (6.46 kms, 5 stations); Reach 3: Hessarghatta Cross to BIEC (3.7 km, 3 stations) and Reach 4: Puttenahalli Cross to Anjanapura Township (6.29 km, 5 stations). The commuter traffic projected for these four lines are as follows as per the report: 2021: 6.45 lakhs; 2031: 8.44 lakhs and 2041: 9.87 lakhs. The DPR also called for exemption or reimbursement for BMRCL from the State VAT tax as well as exemption from municipal taxes and electricity charges incurred in operations.
The other new line, the 18.82-km R V Road-Bommasandra Line (Reach 5) with 16 elevated stations is projected to have a ridership of 30.78 lakhs in 2021 which is estimated to zoom to 42.14 lakhs in 2041. Only the old DPR of the new line, the 21.25 km Nagawara- Gottigere corridor (Reach-6) has been uploaded, which shows the initally planned alignment through the parking lot opposite the Cantonment railway station. Asked if there was any plan to revert to the previous alignment, Kharola said, “The old DPR has been uploaded.” Activist Raj Dugar posed these two questions: How come curvature is an issue between Shivaji Nagar and Pottery Town but not between M G Road and Shivaji Nagar? How come safety became an issue betweeen Cantonment Railway station and Pottery Town and not betweeen Venkateshpura and Arabic College.
Special Metro tax
The DPR for Reach 6 also calls for the setting up of a special Metro fund at the State government level. It suggests funding to this fund through these methods: A metro tax of 2% on payrolls of all establishments having 100 employees as is been done in Western nations; green surcharge on fuel; a 50% cess on tax levied for registration of vehicles; one time green tax on existing vehicles registered in the City which could be Rs 2000 for two-wheelers and Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for 4-wheelers, a 1% turnover tax on all shops, restaurants and hotels and surcharge at 10% on the luxury tax of all star hotels.