The letter written by Citizens for Bengaluru asks the CM to work on three alternatives, which always existed but were never prioritized.

Namma Metro on ORR delayed An open letter to CM Kumaraswamy on 3 things to be done
news Namma Metro Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 12:03

The clogged Outer Ring Road (ORR) stretch in Bengaluru is not likely to get the Metro any time in the near future, as the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has run out of funds and has cancelled tenders for the civil works, as per a report in the Economic Times. Fresh tenders may be invited by the BMRCL only in mid-2019. “We cancelled the bids as we were yet to achieve financial closure. Even the land acquisition was incomplete,” Ajay Seth, managing director at BMRCL told ET.

In view of the delay in the Metro project coming to ORR, we from the activist group Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) ask CM HD Kumaraswamy to consider the following. 

Graphic representation of railway line along ORR by Deepti Nagendra, CfB volunteer

As the devastating news that Namma Metro on ORR (Silk Board to KR Puram) will now be further delayed as tenders had to be cancelled hit the headlines today, we have two options. Complain and criticize or use this opportunity to promote the alternatives that always existed but unfortunately never prioritized.

First, we must acknowledge that a large percentage of cars in our city are going to this part of ORR causing traffic congestion there and everywhere else in the city. The metro should have come up here ten years ago. Therefore we cannot ignore this news as yet another bad news we are used to hearing.

1. Suburban train: Lucky for us, the railway line runs pretty much along the ORR. Stations like Bellandur, Carmela Ram and Heelalige can serve lakhs of techies that come here from every part of Bengaluru. With Metro reaching Byappanahalli, Yeswantpur and Majestic, there is tremendous opportunity to integrate metro and train to get to ORR from many parts of city. The state government must put all its might behind suburban train project and ensure short terms measures are taken such as increased services on existing tracks and last mile connectivity from stations to office parks. The SPV must be formed and full-fledged work must begin as budget has already been allocated by Central Government.

2. Make bus go faster: A large number of people are already taking the bus (BMTC or office bus) to their work place.  We must give priority to the bus on ORR because each bus carries 1000 people in a given day and helps reduce emissions and congestion. This is possible to do on ORR as there are multiple lanes and it was originally designed for bus priority lanes. Once bus is made faster, more people would switch to the bus, taking their cars out of the roads and thereby reducing congestion and pollution. This is an experiment worth trying for 3 months with great support and coordination from BMTC, Traffic police, BBMP, IT parks.

3. Give the Rs 1000 crore earmarked for Elevated Corridor to Metro: The main reason tenders had to be cancelled is due to lack of funds as per media reports. I believe you must transfer the Rs 1000 crores that is set aside for Elevated Corridor to BMRCL so Metro work on ORR does not slow down.  The elevated corridor is not in the best interest of the city and if we don’t agree on that, I’m sure you agree that Metro as a mass public transport is more important and urgent than elevated corridors.

The writer is the Co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru.

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