The Karnataka government on Wednesday, 9th June 2021, said that it will aim to complete the tender process for the first 25kms stretch of the long-delayed and much-awaited suburban railways by October this year.
“Traffic congestion will be reduced drastically if the Bengaluru Sub-Urban rail Project is completed swiftly. It is intended to complete the tender process of 25.01 km stretch between Baiyappanahalli to Chikkabanavara by October,” according to a statement from the chief minister’s office (CMO).
The suburban rail has been in the works for many years as successive governments continued to focus their energies and resources on the expensive alternative, i.e. Metro.
The metro has progressed at a very slow pace in Bengaluru, leaving much of the city’s over 12 million population to depend on private transport for their daily commute. Since the project began in 2006, the metro has so far completed just under 50 kms so far with another 66.1 kms under various stages of construction. “Annual revenue earned from the operations in 48.3 kms is ₹434 crores. So far, ₹1,659 crore revenue is earned,” the CMO said in a statement.
In the existing operational routes, the highest boarding so far has been 6,01,000, which is under 5% of the city’s population.
“The CM opined that metro cannot gain profit only by fare collection. Commercial areas available on the metro lines and stations must be utilized by encouraging income generating activities. He also advised us to bring down the maintenance costs,” the statement added.
The crumbling infrastructure in Bengaluru, the largest city in the southern state, has made matters worse for people residing in India’s IT capital.
Most, if not all, roads in Bengaluru are dug up, adding to the challenge of motorists and pedestrians alike. Bengaluru has an estimated 9.4 million vehicles which has made India’s IT capital top the list globally as the city with the world’s worst traffic title in 2019.
Yediyurappa on Wednesday acknowledged that progress on the ‘smart city’ project was slow. “Twenty seven road works are being implemented currently and piles of mud and craters are evidently seen on both sides of the roads. It is a hurdle for people and vehicle movement,” Yediyurappa said. He said that despite his own reviews, works have still not been implemented.
“The monsoon has already arrived and is expected to intensify in another two weeks. When are you going to complete the work,” the chief minister questioned officials.