The Karnataka cabinet on Thursday approved borrowing of Rs 7,438 crore to fund the 148 km suburban rail project across Bengaluru, State Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy said on Thursday. "The state cabinet has approved the proposal to borrow the amount through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) as part of the state's share in the Rs 18,600-crore suburban rail project across the city, being implemented jointly with the Indian Railways," Madhuswamy told reporters in Bengaluru.
The state government and the Ministry of Railways will guarantee the loan to be shared equally by them. "The central and state governments will also contribute Rs 2,479 crore respectively to the mega project, which will ease vehicular pressure on city roads and meet the need for alternative transport," said Madhuswamy.
The project will have four corridors, connecting Bengaluru with Devanahalli near the international airport (41.4 km and 15 stations), Baiyappanahalli with Chikkabanavara (25 km and 14 stations), Kengeri with Whitefield (35.52 km and 14 stations) and Heelalige with Rajanakunte (46.24 km and 19 stations).
According to the plan, the airport line is due to be completed in three years. The Union Cabinet on October 7 had approved the suburban rail project, which has been pending over the years to provide an efficient commuting network to the burgeoning tech city of 1.3-crore citizens.
"The Railways will contribute 20% of the equity and guarantee external borrowing up to 60% of the project cost, while the state government will share the remaining 20 per cent equity," an official told IANS in Bengaluru.
The suburban rail project is scheduled to be completed by 2025 and become operational from 2026. "The suburban rail service, the metro rail service and the state-run bus service will be integrated to provide a seamless mobility for the people in and around the city," the minister added.