Wednesday, February 22, 2006

CM set to board Metro project

CM set to board Metro project
Deccan Herald

The new chief minister, on his second visit to New Delhi, will on Wednesday morning take a personal look at the way the world-class Delhi Metro is run.

Is Chief Minister H D Kumaaraswamy taking a pro-Metro rail stand?

Official sources say he is. The new chief minister, on his second visit to New Delhi, will on Wednesday morning take a personal look at the way the world-class Delhi Metro is run.

During his Metro ride, Mr Kumaaraswamy will have a chance to chat up with Delhi Metro Managing Director E Sreedharan, popularly called the “Metro Man”. He will embark on the Metro at the Central Secretariat station and travel to Connaught Place two stations away. After this, in all probability, he would make up his mind whether the JD(S)-BJP government should go in for the Metro or not.

The chief minister has not aired his thoughts on whether he would favour the Metro or its rival Mono. He had said on February 15 that the government would take a final decision shortly and start work immediately after that. However, if official sources are to be believed, Mr Kumaaraswamy is likely to vote for the Metro which has transformed the way people travel in parts of Delhi.

The chief minister is said to be of the opinion that he was all for the Metro and wants it to come up in Bangalore fast as a relief from the messy infrastructure and the traffic gridlock.

Politically, a decision in favour of the Metro would help the young chief minister to come out of the shadow of his father H D Deve Gowda. The JD(S) president has steadfastly opposed the Metro while favouring mono rail which has not been found favour with the Union Government. This would also give an opportunity to Mr Kumaaraswamy to show that he can take decisions independently, which is against the stated stand pursued by his father who had written many letters to the prime minister, the finance minister and the Planning Commission deputy chairman opposing the Metro.

The Metro has gone far in obtaining major approvals from the Union Government. The Rs 6,000-crore project has been approved by the Public Investment Board from the funding point of view and has been referred to the Group of Ministers which is slated to meet here on Wednesday. The GoM would go specifically into two issues: the legal cover and the type of gauge (track) required for the Bangalore Metro — broadgauge or standard gauge. Chaired by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, the GoM consists of Union ministers P Chidambaram, Laloo Prasad Yadav, Jaipal Reddy and the Plan panel’s M S Ahluwalia. The UTI Bank, the lead bank which has made a financial appraisal of the project, has agreed to raise Rs 3,200 crore. As for guarantees, there is none from the government but there will, however, be an escrow cover. The bankers have agreed to it.


Bangalore, DHNS:

The State Government is planning to create four to five integrated townships in the State to cater to professionals of the IT and BPO sectors. Briefing reporters after a meeting with NASSCOM President Kiran Karnik, Chief Minister H D Kumaaraswamy on Tuesday said the State’s townships would be part of a plan devised for 12 integrated townships across the country.

“The towns earmarked for the projects will be identified soon,” he said. The Chief Minister quoted NASSCOM figures and said software export revenues from the State were tipped to be $US 20 billion by 2010, as against a national figure of $US 60 billion.


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