Residents who are likely to be affected by the realignment plans of BMRCL along the RV Road-Bommasandra stretch, have their hopes pinned on the two meetings to be held this month.
The first meeting will be held between Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy and BMRCL, which is very unlikley to bear any fruit, by the admission of the minister himself. The second meeting between the Public Investment Board of the Central government and BMRCL will be held on June 25.
On Wednesday, residents submitted a memorandum to Ramalinga Reddy pointing out that going over-ground with the present plan will only result in an increase in expenditure due to delays and suggested that the project be taken underground.
They said that considering both Jayadeva Hospital and Metro station are matters of public interest, the one with the larger public interest should prevail over the other - in this case, the Metro project. Ramalinga Reddy, however, admitted that the meeting with BMRCL is unlikely to bring any changes to the design.
“The meeting has been arranged for them (BMRCL) to explain Phase 2 and what is happening with Phase 1. While we may touch upon the issue of realignment, it is, at best, a post-mortem of the issue. I doubt the decision will be changed,” he said. The residents have, however, planned for this. “The BMRCL has another meeting with the PIB where the discussion is about the cost of the project. We have already written to the PIB and the Planning Commission pointing out that not only has BMRCL currently underestimated the cost of Phase 2, but with the proposed realignment, the costs will only go up further. It is not in their interest,” said K Ramesh, coordinator of Jayadeva Interchange Metro Victims’ Forum.
According to residents, BMRCL has grossly underestimated the cost. “While BMRCL claims that the cost of construction of Jayadeva Interchange station is estimated at Rs 146 crore, we believe that this is actually at least Rs 800 crore. For instance, they have calculated the land price at Rs 3,500 per sqft, according to sources in the BMRCL. But the actual cost is about Rs 13,000 per sqft for residential land and at least Rs 16,000-Rs 18,000 for commercial land. Adding to other costs such as interest rates at 12 per cent, building costs, rehabilitation costs, etc, it will be much more than Rs 146.
Moreover, BMRCL has also not considered the cost of moving equipment from the offices that are going to be demolished,” Ramesh said. Adding the acquisition of 98 buildings (1,60,000 sq ft) to this will only further increase the cost of the project, he said.
If all fails, the residents have not ruled out legal recourse. “If our suggestions are not considered, then we have no other option left but to seek legal recourse. But this is our last resort.”