BENGALURU: The detailed project report (DPR) that the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) released on Thursday for a Metro link between K R Puram and Silk Board has revealed what the groups opposing the steel flyover project have been saying all along. Now it looks like the argument of pushing the Metro on a priority basis to the Airport holds good than a steel flyover.
The Metro DPR states that the 17-km metro link will cost Rs 4,202 crore, where as the 7-km steel flyover from Basaweshwara Circle to Hebbal is estimated to cost Rs 1,900 crore. This means the steel flyover will cost Rs 267 crore a km, whereas the cost of building the Metro is Rs 247.17 crore a km. The Metro will be a permanent solution unlike a steel flyover which will hold good only for a few years.
Transport expert M N Sreehari says, “Instead of a steel flyover, we need a Metro or a mono rail that will be able to ferry about 15,000-20,000 people in half an hour. But those in the government are least interested in this as the match is fixed. The steel and political lobby has been working for the steel flyover.”
Voicing similar opinion, architect Naresh Narasimhan says, “We need the Metro and buses. The steel flyover is a demented plan hatched by so-called transport planners to create a web of elevated roads with our tax money. We need to go back to Bengaluru of the ‘80’s in terms of metrics of vehicles, air quality and water sufficiency.”
Cheaper Metro options
The state government proposed the steel flyover claiming it would ease traffic moving towards the airport. However, two months ago, BMRCL uploaded as many as nine alternative routes to the airport on the Metro. Out of the nine alignments, five start from Nagawara. Nagawara will get a metro link under Phase-2, with a new link starting in Gottigere. Interestingly, there is a 13-kilometre underground stretch from Dairy Circle to Nagawara. In order to connect the network from Nagawara, BMRCL has to complete the underground stretch. Going by past records, it looks like it is going to take a long time.
The long and short of it
The Metro line starting from Nagawara through Hebbal, Yelahanka and Trumpet junction is the cheapest option and will cost Rs 4,656 crore. The line from Nagawara through Bellahalli and Yelahanka will cost of Rs 4,848 crore. The third most economical line runs from Mehkri Circle through Hebbal and Yelahanka at Rs 5,024 crore.
Ashish Verma, mobility expert from Transportation Research Group of India (TRG) points out, “We have seen what has transpired in Delhi. With such infrastructure projects we are encouraging usage of private vehicles. Be it steel flyover or elevated corridor project, they will not solve the fundamental problem of traffic. The question is, are they sustainable?”