In October 2020, the Union government sanction had categorically mentioned that the suburban rail project in Bengaluru must be finished in its entirety within six years since the date of sanction.

A suburban train in BengaluruREPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE
news Urban Infrastructure Tuesday, February 01, 2022 - 11:04

Although delayed by two decades, residents of Bengaluru were pinning their hopes on the suburban rail project in the city that the Union government had sanctioned in October 2020. It has been much-demanded infrastructure to solve the city’s perennial traffic mess. The project is being executed by Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Company (K-RIDE), a joint venture of the Union and state government. However, since the announcement, there has been no work on the ground so far.

In October 2020, the Union government sanction had categorically mentioned that the project in its entirety must be finished within six years since the date of sanction. It also said that the airport-city line should be built on a priority basis and within three years. The state government’s Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), too, had advised that the airport line project be executed first. However, in January 2021, the K-RIDE prioritised work on the other lines instead, leaving rail activists disappointed (here’s why). The other three lines that are part of the project are Byappanahalli-Yeshwantpur-Chikkabanavara; Kengeri-Cantonment-Whitefield; and Heelalige-Byappanahalli-Rajanukunte.

But the citizens are not ready to give up on their long-pending demand just yet. On January 17, 2022, a citizen and rail activist, Rajkumar Dugar, renewed the demand to start the suburban rail project, prioritising the airport corridor. As of January 31, his online petition has garnered more than 3,000 signatures. The petition, which aims to collect at least 5,000 signatures, has been addressed to the  Prime Minister, Railway Minister, Karnataka Chief Minister, all MLAs and MPs of the state, the Chief Secretary and all officials concerned.

Read: Bengaluru suburban rail project: Work on airport line delayed, activists dismayed

Bangalore Central MP PC Mohan, who has been a vocal supporter of the campaign for the suburban rail project, has said that he has requested the Chief Minister to give priority to the airport line. Speaking to TNM, he said, “I have requested the Chief Minister to review the matter. I will speak with him again on this issue.”

The MP, however, alleged that work is on track with regards to land survey and other pre-civil works. “The tenders have been called and in another two months, the work will begin,” he added.

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