Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kumaaraswamy swears by Metro

Kumaaraswamy swears by Metro
Deccan Herald

CM, wife coo with childlike delight after Delhi Metro ride

“I think Metro Rail is the best alternative for the problems faced by the commuters of Bangalore City.”

Thus wrote Chief Minister H D Kumaaraswamy in the visitors’ opinion book of Delhi Metro after a ride on the Capital’s state-of—the—art urban transport system on Wednesday.

Mr Kumaaraswamy, who travelled on different routes of the Metro – both underground section and on the surface – categorically told mediapersons that he was committed to getting the Metro for Bangalore. He said he would leave no stone unturned to get it fast.

The chief minister was accompanied by wife Anitha, who too returned impressed after the one hour Metro ride as she remarked: “I am impressed for it is fast, minimises delay and accidents besides reducing congestion on the roads.”

Mr Kumaaraswamy was briefed by Delhi Metro Managing Director E Sreedharan. “I was told by Mr Sreedharan, who made all this possible for Delhi, that it will not be a burden on the common man. Having travelled on the London Metro several times and now the Delhi Metro, I am convinced that it is of great use to the people. We are interested in providing the best urban transport to the people of Bangalore.

Mr Sreedharan and his team have done wonderful work and he said his help will always be available for Bangalore.” The chief minister, who boarded the Metro at Central Secretariat and travelled on the underground section till Connaught Place, experienced the overground travel till Karol Bagh and back. “I know people spend a lot of time in travelling from their homes to their workplace and back. Metro saves time.”

When pressed whether he would opt for the Metro as against Mono Rail – which his father H D Deve Gowda wanted – the chief minister said: “If the Metro is the best suited system, then we will indeed have it. However, we can consider other systems which can support the Metro later. I am not opposed to Metro. I am open about it”.

He said he was awaiting the decision of the Group of Ministers (GoM) which was going into couple of issues regarding Bangalore Metro. “We will start work immediately after that,” he added.

Meanwhile, the GoM meeting, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, remained inconclusive. It is likely to hold a second and possibly the final meeting on March 1.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) Managing Director K N Srivatsava, who made a presentation at the meeting, said four issues were discussed: Whether the Metro is a Central or a state subject; if it is Central, would it come under the Railway Ministry or the Urban Development Ministry (UD); who should certify safety; and what gauge the Metro should have — standard or broad gauge (BG).

Mr Srivatsava told the meeting that since urban transport was a state subject, the Metro should also be a state subject. Arguing that the Metro should be constructed under the Tramways Act, Mr Srivatsava said while the Tramways Act was for intra-city transport, the Railways Act was for inter-city transport. He said the Metro should have standard gauge (SG) as it saves cost by Rs 517 crore, reduces land requirement and allows sharp curves to be taken. Of the 105 Metros around the world, 73 have SG and in the last one decade, all cities have followed SG except the Delhi Metro which has BG because of the Railway Ministry’s insistence. He urged the meeting to give its recommendations at the earliest since the BMRC was losing Rs 80 lakh per day because of the delay.

Mr Sreedharan, who was present at the meeting, strongly favoured SG for Bangalore and added that he would offer all co-operation.


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