Monday, December 26, 2005

2005 unlucky for Bangalore Metro Rail project

2005 unlucky for Bangalore Metro Rail project
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Though incorporated more than a decade ago (1994), the Rs 6,296 crore Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) is still hoping for better fortunes as it find in a never ending saga of postponements of dates to begin the project.

Public Investment Board (PIB) gave in-principle approval to the Rs 6,296 crore project but the metro rail project found itself embroiled in a series of controversies after the former prime minister H D Deve Gowda shot off letters to the Prime Minister in June and October , raising objections on issues of financial viability , burden on the state exchequer and the problems it would pose to residents during the construction of route-allignment.

The issue took a new twist in November when Finance Minister P G R Sindhia toeing the line of the JD (S) supremo , said that it was well within his right to question the finan viability of the project. This, then led to speculations that the state govt was seriously considering other options, such as the ’Monorail’ to implement a cost-effective rail-based mass transit system for City .

Key-issues of tax exemption, funding of project by JBIC ( J apan Bank for International Co-operation, Sharing of equity and cost escalation by central and state govts etc, were some other issues that kept the project in the darkness of the metro’s long tunnel.

Will 2006 be any different for BMRC?. Only time will tell.

However K N Shrivastava, Managing Director , BMRC, is hopeful as ever and describes the year gone by as eventful. "A lot of progress with regard to planning the metro was achieved. The PIB approval was the highlight of 2005. W e hope to begin constru tion in 2006. If it happens, it will be a new year gift for the people of Bangalore" Shrivastava said.

March 3, 2005: State Cabinet appro ves the project at its meeting.

June 15, 2005: Public Investment Board meeting held at New Delhi to assess the feasibility of the project. Sought clarifications on several issues.

J une 21, 2005: PIB issues note seeking clarifications from BMRTL and the U rban Development ministry on issues pertaining cost overruns.

June 27, 2005: BMRTL finalises land acquisition agreement with the Ministry of Defence to acquire 102 acres of defence land in Bangalore at the cost of Rs 1.13 crore.

The July 15 meeting of the Public Investment Board (PIB) to decide on Bangalore Metro Rail Project was then put off to Jul although Bangalore Mass Rapid T ransit Ltd. (BMRTL), which will execute the project, claims to be ready with the clarifications sought by the board.

The PIB meeting scheduled for July 29 was again postponed to August 05. Nothing emerges, PIB continues to hold discussions again on 6.

The Rs 6,296 crore project finally gets PIB nod on August 6 2005 in principle

August 22, 2005: Interactive meet with residents of Indiranagar turn ugly over CMH Road issue

Commencement dates of project construction postponed more than five times since September

Decides to avoid cubbon park alignment fearing protests from environmental groups in December

Project may begin in January 2006 says BMRC.


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