Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Techies will drive on fast lane to Electronics City

Techies will drive on fast lane to Electronics City
India Abroad News Service

Stung by criticisms of Bangalore's crumbling infrastructure, the Karnataka government has swung into action to build an elevated four-lane highway to the Electronics City.

The Union ministry of shipping, road transport and highways, in association with the state government, has commissioned a feasibility study for widening the 25 km busy Bangalore-Hosur road to six-eight lanes in three years' timeframe.

Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways T.R. Baalu told media persons here Monday the project would be taken up from April next year after completing and evaluating the feasibility report by March 2005.

"The entire project will be executed in two phases from the Eighth Mile to 33 km connecting Bangalore to Hosur in Tamil Nadu at an estimated cost of Rs.6.25 billion," he said.

"From the outskirts of Bangalore to the Electronics City, an elevated 10 km four-lane highway will be built at a cost of Rs.3.6 billion.

"It will come up over the existing four-lane highway to facilitate thousands of IT professionals drive on a fast lane."

The Electronics City Industry Association, consisting of India's IT bellwethers Infosys and Wipro, will participate in the BOT (build-operate and transfer) project with a combined 33.33 percent equity stake.

The Karnataka government and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will be the other two stakeholders in the project with each holding 33.33 percent stake.

A tripartite agreement will be signed for executing the project and operating the fast lane highway. Toll will be levied on user vehicles.

"The 25 km road on NH-7 will be widened to six lanes up to 18th km and into eight lanes from the Electronics City to Hosur for fast movement of heavy duty trucks and high volume traffic between Bangalore and Chennai," Baalu disclosed.

The minister declared the 625 km portion of the golden quadrilateral project across Karnataka would be completed by mid-2005 at a cost of Rs.15.69 billion.

"There have been some delays in completing certain sections of the quadrilateral project in the state for want of land acquisition and awarding the contracts through an elaborate tender process.

"Though the projects were earlier scheduled to be completed by December-end, we are extending the deadline by another six months," he added.

Minister of State for Road Transport and National Highways K.H. Muniyappa said the NHAI would take up four other projects in the state at an estimated cost of Rs.25.45 billion for completion in the next two-four years.

"To strengthen the road infrastructure in Karnataka, our ministry will take up widening and upgrading of the 85 km Bangalore (KR Puram)-Kolar-Mulbagal National Highway (NH-4) at a cost of Rs.4 billion," he said.

"The 19.5 km Bangalore-Nelamangala on NH-4 at a cost of Rs.4 billion and the 157 km Nelamangala-Hassan National Highway (NH-48) at a cost of Rs.6.2 billion," said Muniyappa.

"The NHAI will also take up the 74 km Kundapur-Surathkal National Highway (NH-17) at a cost of Rs.5 billion."


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