Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Panel gives tentative nod for high-speed rail link to Bengaluru International Airport

Panel gives tentative nod for high-speed rail link to Bengaluru International Airport

Special Correspondent


G. Janardhan Reddy
Bangalore: An Empowered Committee of the Union government has tentatively cleared the high-speed rail project to link the core area of Bangalore (Mahatma Gandhi Road) with the Bengaluru International Airport located at Devanahalli, a distance of about 35 km.

The Karnataka government has now submitted the Detailed Project Report, the Request for Proposal, draft of the Concession Agreement and other documents that go with the procedure for a formal clearance by the Centre.

Rs. 6,500-crore project

The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 6,500 crore, and of this the Union government is expected to provide for 20 per cent. The final approval of the Centre is expected in about six weeks.

The Minister for Tourism and Infrastructure Development, G. Janardhan Reddy, and Principal Secretary (Infrastructure Development), V. Madhu told presspersons here on Monday after the formal signing of an agreement for upgrading the Bellary–Andhra Pradesh border State highway 132 that the high-speed rail link would be a reality and work would commence soon.

Five consortia, led by Reliance, Lanco, Tata, Larsen and Toubro and Soma Group, had been shortlisted for the project.

As such, a committee of senior officials of the Centre cleared the project eight months ago and had also promised that the Centre would provide assistance through Viability Gap Funding (VGF).

Mr. Reddy said the high speed rail project would have three major hubs — M.G. Road, Hebbal and Yelahanka.

A hub is one which will serve as interlink between the high-speed rail and other modes of transport and in this case the Metro Rail Phase One, Metro Rail Phase Two, monorail and other integrated passenger transport (taxis, autorickshaws and buses apart from private motor vehicles).

With the completion of work, people from any part of Bangalore can reach the international airport in less than an hour and the distance between M.G. Road and the international airport can be covered in under 25 minutes.

The State government is pushing through with the high-speed rail link, as nearly Rs. 1.5-lakh crore of investment is expected in the Devanahalli region — Information technology park, biotechnology park, Special Economic Zone.

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