Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CM to take final call on HSRL

CM to take final call on HSRL

November 24th, 2009
By Our Correspondent
Tags: High Speed Rail Link

Bengaluru
Nov. 23: With three powerful ministers in the government making contradictory statement on implementing the Rs 5,767 crore High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) transit system to Bengaluru International Airport, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa will have to take a final call on the project.
Sources in the secretariat told Deccan Chronicle that the process of shortlisting names in the technical
qualification round has been completed. “Some ministers have raised doubts about the approval of the project by the Cabinet. The project was approved by the Cabinet during the Belgaum session in February. A government order was also issued to implement the project. We have no clue what the ministers were talking about,” a source said. “We will seek clarity from the Chief Minister on the issue.”
While tourism and infrastructure minister G. Janardhan Reddy has openly supported the 33.4 km high speed rail project, stating that he was the minister in charge and has the final say, excise minister Katta Subramanya Naidu and transport minister R. Ashok, close aides of the CM and also ministers in charge of Bengaluru, set off fresh speculation by saying the project is still open to debate and will be placed before Cabinet for discussion.
ABIDe, the advisory body for infrastructure in the city, formally headed by the CM and actively led by MP Rajeev Chandrashekar, has on the other hand opposed the project on the grounds that it is too expensive. It suggested that Metro Rail be extended to BIA. But Bengaluru Airport Rail Link (BARL), an SPV created by the government to execute the project, tried to clear the air by saying that it was a PPP model based project with a viability gap funding by Centre of 20 per cent. However, not convinced by the argument, ABIDe has written to the CM to pursue Metro Rail over HSRL.
“Five consortiums, Reliance Infrastructure, Pioneer Infratech-Seimens (Tata Group), Larsen & Tubro, Lanco Infra and ITD-TDC. CEM, have submitted their application for the project. We are though with the evaluation of RFQs submitted by these companies, so technically the project is on course,” he said.

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