Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Isolated planning of city projects worries experts

Isolated planning of city projects worries experts
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: The much-debated monorail and High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to the airport is back in the news. The cabinet plans to take up the projects at its next meeting for approval. But will the government follow ABIDe’s advice on these major infrastructure projects?
The monorail blueprint is as good as ready, with the first phase linking Hebbal to JP Nagar — a 34-km stretch. The corridors and routes for the 60-km monorail costing Rs 8,400 crore has also been marked out. As for the HSRL, CM B S Yeddyurappa has announced that work will begin by February 2011.
Feasibility and cost factors apart, another issue worrying many city experts is, why are all these major projects being planned in isolation? This, they feel, will only cause more and more confusion.
A classic example: The proposed monorail route from Hebbal to Central Silk Board (CSB) junction is clashing with a proposal from the BMTC for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along the same route.
Further, the monorail routes are not even those proposed by Scomi-Geodesic, the company that was shortlisted for the project. What they proposed was three flower-like loops within the city to act as a feeder for the Metro. But, the list looks like independent routes, say experts.
According to ABIDe members, the same concern was raised six months ago at one of their meetings. “In my view, Bangalore Metro should build connectivity to airport. There’s no need for a separate HSRL,” observed Ashwin Mahesh, an ABIDe member.
Yet another issue is the viability of these huge projects. Most of these are taken up by private parties on viability gap funding. And they want it in the form of land. However, ABIDe had also advised the government not to opt for such projects.

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