Monday, February 27, 2006

‘Big bucks’ needed to move Metro forward

‘Big bucks’ needed to move Metro forward
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The recent ride by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on the Delhi Metro may have helped dispel doubts regarding the new dispensation's approach towards the much-awaited Metro project of Bangalore.

Bangalore Metro will remain a distant dream if the State and Central governments fail to earmark funds in their ensuing budgets.

This ambitious project with an expected outlay of Rs 7,000 crore is now awaiting final clearance from the Centre and requires massive financial support from both governments for construction to begin.

The Centre has already promised Rs 1,200 crore for the project and the State's share would come around Rs 1,800. Feasibility studies say the rest would be taken as loan from national and international financial agencies.

“The State Government has to release cess collected for the project that comes around Rs 450 crore.

Some additional funds are also needed from the State Government to ensure that the Metro moves forward without any hitch,'' sources in the government told this website’s newspaper.

Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who also holds the finance portfolio, will present his maiden budget on March 20.

The Government started collecting the cess in 1995-96. In the beginning, the governments of H D Deve Gowda and J H Patel had released some funds.

However, the successive governments of S M Krishna and Dharam Singh had not released much, though they had promised to take the project forward.

The Centre's role is also crucial. “It has promised to give Rs 1,200 crore and a substantial amount must be earmarked in Tuesday's budget for anything to happen quickly.

“The project will start moving if provided between Rs 200 crore and Rs 250 crore,'' a source said.

Meanwhile, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) officers are meeting representatives of Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) in New Delhi on March 6 to finalise a loan agreement. The JBIC has offered to lend Rs 1,803 crore for the project.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Minister Sharad Pawar, which is going into various aspects including the gauge controversy, is expected to meet on March 1.

After GoM clearance, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has to show a green signal.

Metro waits for....

* Green signal from GoM

* CCEA approval

* Budget allocation from State, Centre

* Land acquisition.


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