Thursday, November 24, 2005

New funding pattern likely for Bangalore metro rail

New funding pattern likely for Bangalore metro rail

The Hindu

Long-awaited infrastructure project is in the final stage of being approved

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Metro Rail Project is in the final stage of being approved under the new policy framework, and the funding is unlikely to be on the model of the Delhi Metro, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said here on Wednesday.

He was speaking to presspersons after attending a breakfast meeting with Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh. Water Resources Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, Law Minister H.K. Patil and officials attended the meeting in which the State made a presentation of some of its ongoing and proposed infrastructure projects with focus on Bangalore.

When his attention was drawn to reservations expressed by the Janata Dal (Secular) over some aspects of the metro project, including its cost effectiveness, he said that the project, once implemented, would bring about a marked changed in the infrastructure in Bangalore. The Planning Commission would consider the State's plea for additional funds and concessions in duties for developing infrastructure in Bangalore city, he said.

Responding to the presentation made by the State Government, he said he is impressed by the State's performance in the electricity distribution sector. The Government has brought down transmission and distribution losses effectively. The achievements of the State in many sectors are noteworthy and need to be emulated by other States. Karnataka, Bangalore in particular, has been attracting global attention, and this adds to the urgency to take up large infrastructure development projects, he said.

Referring to some projects of the State pending clearance from the Urban Development Ministry, he said he would look into it. However, he expected the State to expedite its response to the clarifications sought by the Ministry pertaining to the National Urban Renewal Mission for which draft guidelines have been issued.

Later, the Chief Minister told presspersons that the Government's presentation focussed on various infrastructure development projects pertaining to the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, the Bangalore Development Authority, the metro rail project and the international airport. He said he has urged the Centre to share 50 per cent of the cost for all viable projects. He has also requested the Centre to extend an overall exemption on customs and central excise duties for the metro project as that would help the State reduce the cost of construction by an estimated 25 per cent, Mr. Singh said.


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