Thursday, June 30, 2005

Clear Metro project quickly: Siddaramaiah tells Centre

Clear Metro project quickly: Siddaramaiah tells Centre
New Indian Express

NEW DELHI: Karnataka on Wednesday made a strong plea to the Centre to speed up the clearance of the “reliable and modern” Bangalore Metro Rail project, to be promoted with equal equity participation of the State and Central governments. The Centre should evolve a mechanism to clear such a project in a time bound manner, perhaps within three months.

Deputy Chief Minister M. Siddaramaiah, addressing the Chief Minister’s Conference on the National Urban Transport policy here on Wednesday, said the State Government had already approved the project. Though the Centre had given an assurance that the project would be cleared by April 30, 2005, “unfortunately, that has not happened”, he said.

Bangalore, which had a population of merely 16 lakh in 1971, had crossed the 70-lakh mark on Wednesday and was expected to touch the one crore mark by 2021, he said.

Today the city had 25 lakh vehicles and on an average 900 new vehicles were registered every day. Of the total vehicles in Bangalore,72 per cent were two-wheelers and 3 per cent three-wheelers. Buses contribute only 0.2 per cent of the total number of vehicles in the city, but carry 56 per cent of the city’s commuters.

“The presence of such a large number of two and three-wheelers as well as other personalised vehicles, amply indicates that the city does not have a proper mass rapid transit system,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

Stating that the internal rate of return could be more than 25 per cent in urban transport projects, he said such projects were important for society and both the Central and State governments must provide them full support. Such projects should be given tax exemption by both the State and Central governments, he added.

The Deputy Chief Minister also wanted the Centre to share the cost of acquiring land for any project sponsored by state governments. This could be accounted for in the project cost, while promoters could share the burden in proportion to their equity participation.

“The lands required for the project have to be acquired at a very high cost as land prices in the metropolitan cities are very high. It would not be possible for the State governments to bear this cost entirely,” he said.

Among other things, Siddaramaiah urged the Centre to create a state transport undertaking rehabilitation fund at the Central level; earmark multilateral funds for the transport sector; promote Mass Rapid Bus Transport Systems with dedicated lanes; assist Karnataka in developing an urban transport and management institute to act as a nerve center to conduct various programmes in urban transport; create a national urban transport development fund to support and encourage a state initiative in urban transport management; and earmark 30 per cent of the proposed National Urban Renewal Mission fund for the creation of urban transport infrastructure.


* Approve Bangalore Metro Rail project quickly.
* Promote Mass Rapid Bus Transport System with dedicated lanes.
* Earmark multilateral funds for transport sector.
* Provide tax exemption to urban transport projects
* Share land cost in State govt projects.
* Assist Karnataka’s urban transport and management institute.
* Create STU rehabilitation fund at Central level .
* Bangalore’s city population to touch one crore by 2021.
* Bangalore’s present population 70 lakh.
* Bangalore’s vehicle population 25 lakh.
* 72 per cent of Bangalore’s vehicles are two wheelers.


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