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Work on Bangalore metro rail set to begin
Fakir Chand in Bangalore |
August 29, 2003 14:28 IST
After Delhi, it is the turn of Bangalore, India's bustling Silicon City, to go for the metro rail to commute its millions of denizens who are at present stranded by a woeful public transport system.
To be funded by the Karnataka government and the Centre, the Bangalore metro rail project is set to ferry thousands of people across the garden city daily and decongest its main arteries from chock-a-bloc vehicular traffic, which is growing by the day.
Though the mega project is pending final approval by the Union Government, the pro-active state government has decided to go ahead with the initial project implementation from September to acquire the required land and preliminary works such as utility shifting and relocation of existing structures on the proposed routes.
"The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has prepared the detailed project report for the Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Ltd. The Planning Commission is currently scrutinising the report.
"Once we get the clearance from the Union Cabinet, we will start the work from this year-end," BMRTL chairman Umesh Bhat told rediff.com in Bangalore.
To be spread 33km across the east-west and north-south corridors, the swanky metro coaches will travel 6.7km underground and 26.3km on elevated tracks and surface (at grade) on standard gauge tracks at an average speed of 35km per hour.
"When commissioned, the metro rail service will save fuel costs for the public to the tune of Rs 1200 crore (Rs 12 billion) annually and check the alarming levels of vehicular pollution, estimated to be about 3000 tons currently," Bhat asserted.
Modeled on Delhi Metro, the Bangalore Metro system will have ultra-modern, lightweight, rolling stock made of stainless steel. The coaches will be supplied by the Bangalore-based Bharat Earth Movers Ltd, which has started rolling out them for Delhi Metro.
The total project cost is estimated to be a whopping Rs 4989 crore (Rs 49.89 billion), including Rs 3970 crore (Rs 39.70 billion) towards construction, purchase of coaches and acquisition of 48 hectares of land.
The cost of constructing one kilometre track will be about Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion), which will be half of what Delhi Metro has incurred per km.
The balance amount of Rs 1019 crore (Rs 10.19 billion) is earmarked for interest payment of Rs 610 crore (Rs 6.10 billion) during the construction and escalation (Rs 409 crore).
According to BMRTL managing director L V Nagarajan, the state and the Centre will be contributing Rs 899 crore (Rs 8.99 billion) each for the project cost, constituting 40 per cent of its equity.
The 52 per cent debt portion of Rs 2338 crore (Rs 23.38 billion) will be raised from financial institutions and banks as rupee term loans.
"The state government has already approached Hudco, State Bank of India consortium, ICICI, and IDFC for the domestic funding," Nagarajan affirmed.
The funding includes a subordinate interest free debt of Rs 180 crore (Rs 1.8 billion) each from the state and the Centre, accounting for 8 per cent of the project cost.
The project will have an interest subsidy of Rs 493 crore (Rs 4.93 billion) from the state government, which has been raised from the public so far by levying cess on fuel in the city during the three years.
Projected to carry 0.8-1 million commuters a day when commissioned in 2007-08, the metro rail service will begin with 117 trains consisting of 3-6 air-conditioned coaches each and pass through 32 stations, located at every other km. They will be run on 750 volts DC rail traction system.
The services will be expanded to 166 trains in each direction of both the corridors on daily basis. The metro rail will be integrated with the existing railway network connecting the city and two on route suburban stations.
In all, 18 stations are planned on the east-west corridor, including four under ground, while 14 stations are planned on the north-south corridor, including three under ground.
The two corridors will meet and have an exchange station near the Bangalore City mainline railway station.
The metro rail will have automatic train control and protection system. Automatic fare collection system will be installed at all the 32 stations. The fares will be in the range of Rs 4 - Rs 9 for a journey of 2 -18km.
The BMRTL hopes to break-even within 5 years of operating the service and recover the investment in 7 years from the completion of the project.