Bangalore Metro to chug from mid-September

August 30th, 2011 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Bangalore, Aug 30 (IANS) The long-delayed Metro rail service in this tech hub is set to roll out after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dedicates the first phase of the multi-crore project to the nation mid-September, a top official said here Tuesday.

“The first phase (Reach-1) of the ‘Namma Metro’ service will commence after the prime minister flags off the inaugural trip in the second week of next month. The tentative launch dates are Sep 15 or Sep 17 depending on his (PM) convenience,” state-run Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) managing director N. Sivasailam told reporters here.

The Reach-1 of the Rs.11,609-crore (revised cost) mega project from M.G. Road in city centre to Baiyappanahalli in the eastern suburb covers 6.7 km on elevated tracks with four stations in between.

“The railway safety commissioner (D.K. Singh) of South Central Railway will inspect the Metro facility, stations, signalling system and commuter facilities, including security measures, Sep 4-6 to certify them for commencing operations. We have set Sep 10 as the last date for securing Railway Board clearance to pave way for its inaugural run,” Sivasailam said.

In the run-up to the D-day, Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda reviewed the project works and commuted in the three-coach Metro Rail from M.G. Road to Baiyappanahalli with state Transport Minister R. Ashoka, Law Minister Suresh Kumar, lawmakers and senior officials.

“The prime minister has agreed to inaugurate the service soon after the operator (BMRCL) receives the mandatory clearances. We hope to launch the service from Sept 15 or 17 and offer it to the eight-million citizens as a Dasara gift,” Gowda told reporters after riding on the Metro for about 15 minutes each.

Though Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for the project June 24, 2006, the corporation only began civil works in 2007 and executed Reach-1 in March 2011, 24 months behind the original schedule. This led to a cost escalation of Rs.3,451 crore from the estimated cost of Rs.8,158 crore.

“We have invested Rs.4,000 crore so far in the project, including Rs.360 crore on civil works. We will operate five trains of three coaches in both directions with 10 minutes frequency from morning till late night to ferry about 1,000 commuters on each trip,” BMRCL spokesman B.L.Y. Chavan told IANS.

The first phase comprising two corridors will cover a total of 42.3 km across the city, with 18.1 km on east-west corridor and 24.2 km on north-south corridor, including 8.8 km underground in the city centre. There will be 41 stations.

Being built on public-private partnership model, with the state and central governments holding 15 percent equity each (Rs.1,224 crore), the project has 25 percent (Rs.2,040 crore) as subordinate debt and 45 percent senior term debt from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

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