Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rail projects on collision course?

Rail projects on collision course?
Bengaluru,


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Besides the Metro Rail project, the city will now have a high speed rail link, local trains for the suburbs and a Mono Rail, which is back on the cards, although it was rejected in the past With the state government planning to build several mass transit systems parallely, Bengaluru will have no respite from construction activity for at least the next 10 to 15 years. Is the city ready for this, ask Chandrashekar G. and Amit S. Upadhye

: Ben -galuru, which is already dug up and dusty in many areas, is about to get four more mega infrastructure projects. Announced by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Tuesday, they will cost not less than Rs 5,000 crore each. While they sound good on paper, the question is how much development can Bengaluru really take? Besides the Metro Rail project, the city will now have a high speed rail link, local trains for the suburbs and a Mono Rail, which is back on the cards, although it was rejected by various government agencies in the past.
Urban planners fear that with so many projects in the pipeline Bengaluru will have no respite from construction activity for the next 10 to 15 years, leaving its roads crowded and its environment filthy. They want to know why the government is planning a Mono Rail when the Metro Rail is not even half complete.

“There is a huge lobby working for these projects,” alleges an official, pointing out that the Mono Rail was shelved some time ago as its alignment was clashing with the Metro Rail at three

points. “But a few departments are keen on the Mono Rail and high speed rail link to Devanahalli for reasons of their own,” he contends, demanding to know why the government is bent upon saving a few minutes of travel for 30,000 passengers when over 10 lakh people have no connectivity in the Majestic area. A.S. Kodandapani, an urban planner and consultant, feels that not enough thought has gone into planning the city's infrastructure. "Even after the city gets a Metro Rail 20 lakh odd people in the vicinity of Bellary Road will have no access to it," he points out.
"It is important how these projects are managed. Otherwise, people will have to live with construction all around them, and gain very little in the process over the next decade," warns an urban planner. Fear of overlap Urban planners warn the proposed Mono Rail corridors from St John's Hospital to Cantonment and Majestic to Wilson Garden may overlap with the Metro Rail route in the city. The same goes for the mono rail corridor between Majestic and Basaveshwara Circle, they say.
Contending that the Metro Rail has come a little too late for the city, they feel that careful thought must now go into linking the various modes of transport planned for Bengaluru to avoid confusion. We need a coordinating agency to decide which project is feasible and which is not.
Each agency claims its project has been approved, while they could be overlapping.
Public debate is necessary before they are implemented.

-ASHWIN MAHESH, ABIDe member Coming up with a number of projects is not the solution.

Integrating them is a must for best results.

The Mono Rail has been planned in such a way that it integrates with the Metro Rail at several points like JP Nagar, Mysore Road and Tumkur Road. BMLTA will also ensure that it is integrated with bus services too.
-N. SIVASAILAM, BMRC managing director

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