Sunday, June 25, 2006

Metro work finally flagged off

Metro work finally flagged off
Reinvent, PM advises B’lore
Deccan Herald

Taking note of the city’s deteriorating infrastructure, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on a cautionary note, stressed that Bangalore needs to reinvent itself if it wants to keep its edge over other cities.

Taking note of the city’s deteriorating infrastructure, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on a cautionary note, stressed that Bangalore needs to reinvent itself if it wants to keep its edge over other cities. He was speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of the Bangalore Metro project on Saturday.

“Every other city in India has Bangalore in its sight and in the absence of determined, positive steps, there is no guarantee that the future will be a continuation of the past success of this city. I want everyone to keep this in mind,” Mr Singh said.

He also insisted on keeping the cost of living, working and doing business low to make the city investor-friendly.

“In this extremely competitive and dynamic world we live in, nations, states and cities slide up and down rankings on many parameters. The most advanced states during British rule are no longer perceived as being so. The most advanced agricultural states need to become industrialised states if they have to keep ahead,” Mr Singh added.

Critically hinting at the rural vs urban card being played out in Karnataka, Mr Singh said along with Bangalore’s development, Karnataka development should also be focussed upon, but there should not be any contradiction between the two.

Urban-rural divide

“Some try to divide our people by pitting one against another in the development debate. This is wrong. India cannot develop if only a few benefit from the process. We want both our rural and urban areas to develop,” Mr Singh stressed.

Referring to the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Mr Singh said Bangalore and Mysore were covered under the Mission and the State should prepare futuristic plans to take advantage of the Mission. Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram making a slanting reference to the political conflicts plaguing infrastructure projects in the State said, “A set of beliefs can become set beliefs if we are not willing to change. The worst sufferer is the public. Governments may come and go, but governance goes on. Each government should strive towards the welfare of the State.”

Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy stressed on the development of feeder systems. “The feeder system – buses and roads – should be developed so the potential of the metro is utilised,’ Mr Reddy said.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy promised to provide the autonomy required for the execution of the project while reassuring affected land owners, saying it would be a “painless experience” for them.

On Track, at last

Cost of project: Rs 6,395 crore, Funding structure: 15% equity each by GoK and GoI, the remaining 70% raised by loan

Total distance covered: 33 km. Deadline: Sept 2011

East-West Corridor: 18.10 km. Deadline: Dec 2009

North-South Corridor: 14.9 km. Deadline: Sept 2010

First elevated stretch: 7 km from Byappanahalli to Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium

Deadline: Dec 2009

Civil work to begin: August, 2006

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