BENGALURU: Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s recent claim that the suburban rail network of the city would be ready in three years received a strong backing from Union Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi on Saturday. However, senior railway officials with a lot of expertise in rail infrastructure believe that the project would take a minimum of 10 years to be in place.
Confusions pertaining to the cost, deadline and funding pattern of the 148.17-km rail network project dominated Angadi’s interaction with media persons at the divisional railway manager’s office. On his optimism that the project would be ready within three years, the minister said railway employees have worked round-the-clock in “extreme conditions” at different places to complete projects and “it was possible”.
Asked about the reason for the increase in the cost estimate of the project in the ‘Pink Book’ released after the Union budget, Angadi told Amit Garg, Managing Director of K-RIDE (Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Enterprise) which is implementing the project, to answer on his behalf. Garg said, “The cost announced in the budget (Rs 18,621 crore) is the correct figure. The Pink Book has based its estimate of Rs 23,050 crore on the DPR (detailed project report) submitted two years ago for 160 km. The network is now reduced to 148 km and the Union budget figure would be retained.”
Later, a senior railway official told The New Sunday Express that only the KSR station-Kempegowda International Airport line (41.4 km) would be ready within three years, given its priority over the other corridors.