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With Finance Ministry Clearing Bangalore Suburban Project, K-Ride Starts Hiring Engineers

The Ministry of Finance cleared the revised DPR of Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project on 25th June 2020. The Revised DPR was submitted by K-Ride, the nodal agency implementing the project. 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. 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.

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.

Meanwhile, K-Ride has begun recruiting engineers, to be ready when the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs gives a green signal to the project. Its office is also being shifted from Cunningham Road to a more spacious one at Yeshwantpur. Retired railway officials are also in the process of being hired in a bid to gain from their expertise. K-RIDE has shortlisted 53 experienced engineers to work for its Signal & Telecommunication, Electrical and Civil departments.

“We have issued appointment orders to some while the interviewing process is under way for some more. We will be advertising for retired railway officials also,” said a senior KRIDE official.

On the lines of Namma Metro, K-RIDE also plans to have a unique logo. “We are looking at a logo that will connect with the culture and nativity of the city. The public will be asked shortly to send in their designs for it,” he said. A railway official said that a contracted agency was already carrying out land survey work and mapping of utilities.

The project will cover four corridors, i.e., Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna (Bengaluru City)-Yesvantpur- Yelahanka-Devanahalli-KIA; Baiyappanahalli-Banaswadi- Lottegehalli-Whitefield-Yesvantpur- Chikkabanavara; Kengeri- Cantonment-Whitefield and Heelalige-Baiyappanahalli- Channasandra-Yelahanka-Rajanakunte.