PM Narendra Modi sets deadline, but suburban rail work yet to get on tracks

PM Narendra Modi sets deadline, but suburban rail work yet to get on tracks
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PM Narendra Modi sets deadline, but suburban rail work yet to get on tracks

Highlights

Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself laid the foundation stone for the suburban rail project, the Karnataka Railway Infrastructure Development Corporation (K-Ride) is still waiting to start the work

Bengaluru: Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself laid the foundation stone for the suburban rail project, the Karnataka Railway Infrastructure Development Corporation (K-Ride) is still waiting to start the work. Although the tender process for the 25-km route between Baiyappanahalli - Chikkabanavara (Mallige Corridor) has been completed, the work order has not yet been given to the contracted company.

The Prime Minister, who visited Bengaluru on June 20, laid the foundation stone for the project, which has been put on the backburner for 40 years. Modi had announced that the project would be completed in 40 months.

Although 42 days have passed since this promise, the work has not yet taken off nor are there any signs of work getting started any time sooner. Out of the four corridors, the tender process has been done only for the Baiyappanahalli -Yeshavantpura- Chikkabanavara route. The tender process was started in March itself and L&T bagged the civil works contract. However, K-Ride has not yet given a mandate to this company.

K-Ride officials have been maintaining that there are no hurdles to the project and the work will be completed within the stipulated time. This project was approved on October 21, 2020. The central government has set a deadline of 2190 days (73 months) to complete the work. It said that the work on the airport route should be taken up on priority and completed in 1095 days (three years). The assurance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said that the entire project would be completed in 40 months seems to carry no weight as precious 656 days have elapsed since approval to the project was given. Even civil work has not started yet. That being the case, railway activists who are dreaming about this project are wondering how the deadline can be met.

The Railway department had prepared a proposal in 1983 to start a separate train service in the city. In 2010, the clamour intensified with public organizations joining the chorus. This project was proposed in the Union Budget 2019 and was approved by the Railway Board on 21 August of 2020. The K-Ride, which is responsible for the implementation of the project, has divided the project into four corridors. Tenders have been invited for the dual route between Baiyappanahalli - Channasandra and the contractor has been finalized. The tender process for the remaining three corridors has not yet started. Railway activists express displeasure that the State government and people's representatives, who are supposed to make K-Ride speed up the work, have kept silent.

Railway activist Rajkumar Dugar alleged that the delay in the implementation of the suburban rail project is due to the negligence of the politicians. No use blaming K-Rid. Bengaluru MPs who were vying for publicity when the project was approved are now silent. He said that the implementation of suburban rail project is being delayed due to this kind of interest from the politicians.

It has been 656 days since the approval. 42 days have passed since the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone. However, the civil work has not started. This project will benefit about 2 crore people of Bengaluru and surrounding towns. He said that it is sad that people's representatives are so negligent in this matter. Eight months after the suburban rail project was approved, the airport metro rail project has been approved. Metro rail project work is going on fast. Similarly, he questioned why the suburban rail project should not be implemented.

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