The Karnataka government on Friday named senior IAS officer Rakesh Singh as the Managing Director for the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL). Rakesh Singh is already holding multiple top posts including that of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Administrator in absence of an elected council and a Mayor. He is also serving as the Additional Chief Secretary of Water Resources Department. In his previous postings, he has served as the Commissioner of Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) as well.
This transfer order on Friday comes after the erstwhile MD of BMRCL Ajay Seth got transferred to the post of Union governmentâ€™s Department of Economic Affairs Secretary in New Delhi on April 6.
BMRCL, a special purpose vehicle, was set up in 2005 jointly by the Government of India and the Government of Karnataka. While the state government owns 51% stake, the Union government holds 49%.
Currently operational in two lines, the Bengaluru metro project has several lines under construction and is suffering a monumental delay. Even Phase 1 of the project in its entirety of the existing 42.3 kilometre-stretch was ready in 2017 only after a delay of four years.
The delays are due to a host of reasons like lack of proper planning and execution of civil works and also land acquisition hurdles. The onset of the pandemic had further slowed down the process significantly. The most immediate line that is set to be ready is the Mysuru Road-Kengeri line which is an extension of the existing Purple Line. This route itself was itself set to be finished by September 2017 but is now poised to be ready by June.
The metro project is also slated to be scrutinised by the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore. This after petitioners â€” DT Devare and the BET (Bangalore Environment Trust) â€”- had gone to court in April 2019 and cited mandatory conditions agreed while forming BMRCL, which were allegedly not being followed. They also alleged that the metro body was functioning arbitrarily.
The petitioners said that even after the lapse of 13 years since the first sanction letter was issued, BMRCL had failed to prepare the mandated Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) and an Integrated Traffic Ratio Rationalisation Plan (ITRRP).