BENGALURU: The Union finance ministry on Thursday cleared the revised suburban rail project for Bengaluru, submitted by the nodal agency that will be implementing it. The 148.17- km project will cost Rs 15,767 crore, with an additional Rs 2,854 crore for train coaches, to be mobilised via Public-Private Partnership mode. This development was confirmed by top railway sources as well as infrastructure department officials of the State government.
Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Enterprises (K-RIDE), the JV between the State and Centre, submitted a revised report to the finance ministry in May, by bringing down the project investment cost from the originally proposed Rs 18,621 crore to Rs 15,767 crore. The PMO had in January recommended mobilising resources for the rolling stock (coaches) by bringing private partners on board.
A state government official said, “We are optimistic about it being cleared this time. The report has been sent back by the finance ministry to the Railway Board. It will be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, headed by the PM. Once the PMO gives its nod, it means the project has come through.”
Bengaluru Central MP P C Mohan confirmed this, “It will come through within a month. I am confident. Preliminary work related to survey and land acquisition, as well as building a team to carry out the project by holding interviews, have already been set in motion.” Calling for guarded optimism, a railway official said the report had reached this stage twice in the past, and been turned down.
“It is better not to give it any timeframe. Let us wait till it is cleared,” he said. The PPP will be implemented in the form of a 30-year lease for 306 AC coaches. This could impact the profit margin of the Railways and bring it down from 10.99% to 10.75%, a railway official said. The project will cover four corridors, with the airport route to be given priority: Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna (Bengaluru City)-Yesvantpur- Yelahanka-Devanahalli-KIA; Baiyappanahalli-Banaswadi- Lottegehalli-Whitefield-Yesvantpur- Chikkabanavara; Kengeri- Cantonment-Whitefield and Heelalige-Baiyappanahalli- Channasandra-Yelahanka-Rajanakunte.