The State government formally approved the Suburban Rail Project in the Budget presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday. The decision has pleased many Bangaloreans who have been demanding a commuter rail for the city for decades. Once the suburban rail is commissioned, travelling to the city from the outer areas of Bangalore will be less time consuming.
According to the CM, the project is estimated to cost `8,759 crore. The commuter rail will connect Bangarpet, Mandya, Ramanagaram and Tumkur to the city. Phase I (A) includes activities for a Commuter Rail System that can be completed immediately — such as procurement of five MEMU rakes, making City Railway Station to Cantonment into twin single line system and Cantonment to Byappanahalli automatic signalling, development of four pit lines at Byappanahalli and two additional pit lines at Yeshwanthpur. A special purpose vehicle will also be set up to look into the construction and operation of Suburban Rail System.
The DPR is likely to be completed by early next year, according to officials in the Directorate of Urban Land Transport, which had entrusted the preparation of the concept plan to RITES.
Activists, who have been demanding a commuter rail, believe that this is a time for celebration. Although only Phase-I (A) has been approved, the setting up of an SPV will mean that the government is setting up a full fledged commuter rail system. This, according to Pranav Jha of Praja.in, an online group that has been actively demanding a commuter rail, is a positive step. “A sustainable model is where there are nearby cities is well connected to each othere,” he said.