Sunday, January 29, 2006

Metrorail may hit roadblock

Metrorail may hit roadblock
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The change in Government is likely to affect the Bangalore Metrorail project, while it will have little bearing on the new international airport at Devanahalli.

The Metrorail has crossed most hurdles and the BMRTL is ready to implement it, but the change in the political set-up may delay it, as the new dispensation may decide to take a re-look.

It is not clear what the JD(S)-BJP combine’ stand on the project, which was opposed by the former prime minister H D Deve Gowda.

The JD(S)-led Government is unlikely to go ahead with the project in its present form and may put it off for some time.

However, the new International Airport at Devanahalli, 35 kms from the City, will not be affected. The State Government and Airport Authority of India (AAI) have 13 per cent equity each and rest 74 per cent is from the private sector.

The project is full swing and the airport will be operational by April 2008. “The change in Government will not affect its schedule,” sources said.

The new airport will also spur a lot of economic activities in the City. In the first phase, the BIAL is planning to have one runway and the second runway will be constructed in the next phase.

With non-Congress government, going gets tough for BMP

Not just future projects, even the past decisions of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) may be reversed if the non-Congress coalition forms a government. The ruling Congress at the BMP is clearly in for trouble.

Apart from transfers of key Bangalore Mahanagara Palike officials, the civic body would face difficulty in getting its council resolutions approved by the government.

This can only further stretch the long red tape on infrastructure works making the works costlier.

While some Bangalore Mahanagara Palike officials are jubilant at the prospect of H D Kumaraswamy becoming the new Chief Minister, many are worried with either of the coalition partners taking charge of Bangalore.

While BJP MLA R Ashok is touted to be the next Urban Development Minister and also the in-charge minister for Bangalore, another BJP MLA Katta Subramanya Naidu too is seen as a possibility.

Neither is expected to support the proposals of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike where Congress has a majority.

The renovation of Kalasipalyam Bus terminus, pending development of Garuda Mall, Ashram Circle flyover, grade separators in Malleswaram, Yeshwantpur, Minerva Circle and South End Circle are some of the major projects which would be affected.

Though the new government may not transfer any officials from Bangalore Mahanagara Palike before the budget session, the BMP would change the zonal commissioners and engineers.

The only hope for the mayor Mumtaz Begum is JD(S )MLA Zameer Ahmed, her relative, to be given the Urban Development portfolio.

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