Thursday, February 17, 2005

Can Bangalore sustain this traffic for another four years?

Metro Rail in four years
The Hindu

BANGALORE, FEB. 16. "The Bangalore Metro Rail project, which has for long remained a pie in the sky, will become a reality in four years," said the Union Minister for Urban Development, Ghulam Nabi Azad.

He said here today that the Centre was seized of the Metro Rail project for Bangalore and would push it through with clearances at the earliest. After a luncheon meeting with the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, and his senior Cabinet colleagues, Mr. Azad told presspersons that the Centre would

also help the State in obtaining financial assistance. "The project is estimated to cost over Rs. 4,000 crores and the State Government has raised nearly Rs. 500 crores from cess on the sale of petroleum products in the past several years," he said.

Clarifications

Mr. Azad said the Public Investment Board has sought some clarifications on the project and the Union Urban Development Ministry would provide them in two days. Thereafter, the project would come up before the Union Cabinet for final clearance. After the clearance was given (the Union Cabinet is expected to clear the project within 45 days), the State Government would commence civil works and Bangalore would have a Metro Rail in about four years.

Echoing the views of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, that Bangalore had drawn attention from all over the world, Mr. Azad said that after New Delhi, Bangalore was the best-known city in the country at the international level. Asked about the funding for the Metro Rail project, he said the Japanese Bank for Overseas Development was expected to provide assistance, although it may not be to the same extent as in the case of the aid for the Delhi Metro Rail Project (for which the bank provided 64 per cent of the funds). The Bangalore Metro Rail project should get 50 per cent of the requirement of funds from the bank. Unlike in the New Delhi project, in which the Railway Ministry also participated, the Bangalore Metro would be a joint venture of the Union Urban Development Ministry and the State Government.

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