Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monorail will arrive much before Metro

Monorail will arrive much before Metro
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Finally, it’s official. The Monorail project has overtaken the Bangalore Metro, which still seems entangled in bureaucratic red tape and land acquisition problems.

If Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s recent statements on the Monorail are anything to go by, the first phase of the project will be ready in the next 18 months. Work on the 18 km-route from Jaraganahalli in Banashankari III Stage to Cantonment railway station will start in August and will be completed in a year, the CM has said, making it very clear that the Government is trying to push Monorail.

However, work on the first phase of the Metro project from MG Road to NGEF, a 7 km stretch, is likely to start only in August, that too after the State and Centre sign an MoU to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). “Even if the work starts on time, it will take around three years to complete and by that time, Monorail will be operational,” sources told this website's newspaper.

That apart, acquisition of private lands on CMH Road and Indiranagar also threatens to delay the Metro, if not derail it. While the CM is yet to show the green signal for the acquisition of private lands, some property owners may even approach the courts if the government decides to acquire their lands without offering a proper rehabilitation package.

On the contrary, the Government has made up its mind to go ahead with the Monorail project to be implemented by a private agency. “The first phase of the Monorail will be taken up as a pilot project for technology demonstration. The Government can sign an MoU with the private firm and go ahead,” sources said.

The Monorail, according to its promoters, does not require any lands and the Government will not invest any money in it. All that they require is a letter of intent asking them to take up the project.

However, some senior officials question the Government’s intentions for showing keen interest in a project that will be implemented by a private firm and not in its own project which is being delayed for several years. The delay is resulting in escalation of the project cost, which now stands around Rs 6,400 crore.

Besides, the government is not even waiting for the completion of the comprehensive traffic and transport study that had been started with the sole purpose of identifying routes for different mass transit systems depending on the traffic flow.


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