With a dedicated suburban rail project for Bengaluru finally getting an approval from the Union government, citizen activists want the Karnataka government to expedite work on the terminal connecting the city to the airport, at the earliest. This, they say, is especially required because of the Union governmentâ€™s dilly dallying on approving a metro line connecting the Outer Ring Road to the airport, raising question marks on its feasibility.
The Union government has approved the suburban rail project, which had been pending for decades, with four corridors: Bengaluru City (Majestic/KSR)-Devanahalli (Airport), Byappanahalli-Yeshwantpur-
Amit Garg, Managing Director of K-RIDE said that they will finish work in all the four corridors in the next six to seven years. â€śIt is the prerogative of the state and Union governments to expedite or prioritise on any particular corridor,â€ť he told TNM. Activists point that working on this particular corridor is important as the footfall to the airport is likely to increase further with the second terminal set to be ready for use.
Citizens for Citizens, a Bengaluru activist group has written to the Chief Secretary expressing fears that the work on the rail project would not be prioritised, as stated earlier. In the letter, Rajkumar Dugar, the groupâ€™s convenor, said, â€ś....we remind you that it has been repeatedly understood and highlighted that the priority corridor to be taken up by K-RIDE (the implementing agency) would be the Bengaluru City-Airport corridor which will connect the airport and Majestic and Yeshwantpur, both of which already have Metro Stations nearby.â€ť
â€śAlso, everyone is fully aware that the metro project to the airport awaits approvals on account of feasibility (as stated by a Union Minister in writing in Parliament recently). Even if work starts on the metro to the airport line right now, it is obvious that we will see metro services earliest only by 2025-26 or later.â€ť
Sanjeev Dhyamanavar, a public transport advocate in Bengaluru, said, â€śAs citizens, we want the airport railway line to be done first as it requires minimum land acquisition. We want the Chief Secretary and other relevant authorities to come up with a timeline about how they want to execute the project.â€ť
A section of activists fear that vested interests within the state government may want to delay the suburban rail project to the airport in favour of the metro rail. This is because the metro rail to the airport may not pass the feasibility test if the suburban rail project is already ongoing.