In about a fortnight, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) will begin mock drills to prepare passengers for emergencies. The decision was announced by BMRCL MD PS Kharola on Wednesday, a month after power failure stranded passengers on the MG Road-Baiyappanahalli stretch (Reach 1) for about an hour.
At an interaction organised by FKCCI, Kharola said unlike the Delhi Metro, in Bangalore, trains are powered through the ‘third rail’ which makes it impossible for passengers to walk on the tracks.
“In Delhi, in case of a power failure, people can just walk on the tracks and get to the nearest station. Considering that this is not possible here, the priority is to get the train to the nearest station or to a pathway along the track,” he said. These mock drills will be conducted in batches so that passengers do not panic and are aware of what is happening.
Kharola also pointed out that there was only one instance of passengers being stranded on the rails in the last three years of the Metro’s operation in the city. “We do have to be prepared considering that when Phase I is fully operational, there will be over 50 trains running at a frequency of three minutes,” he added.
Tenders for Phase II in a Month
BMRCL is finalising the tenders for Phase II of Namma Metro, work on which is likely to begin soon.
Kharola said the first tender is likely to be called for the reach between Mysore Road and Kengeri (the extension of East-West line with 5 stations).
BMRCL has already completed geotechnical surveys for the project.
4 Months to Trials on E-W Corridor
Trials on the East-West corridor (Baiyappanahalli to Mysore Road) of Phase I will begin in the next four months and the entire Metro network is likely to be completed by September 2015, Kharola said.
Explaining the challenges in completion of the entire network, especially the interchange station, Kharola said the three tunnel boring machines were having a tough time cutting through rocks and boulders.
He blamed land acquisition costs and fall in the rupee value for the escalation of costs from the initial Rs 11,000 crore to Rs 13,000 crore in Phase 1.
“We had estimated that land acquisition would cost us about Rs 1,400 crore, but it went up to about Rs 2,200 crore. Many machines are also imported and as the cost is considered in dollars and euros, we have to spend more in Indian rupee,” he explained.
Moreover, delays also escalated costs as it was linked to the increase in cost of materials like steel, cement, etc, Kharola said.