Airport Metro line : Centre says ‘no time can be specified for sanctions’
The State government had approved the revised metro alignment in January 2019; tenders have been floated and land acquisition is underway
The wait for the 56-km ‘ORR-Airport Metro line’ that will connect Central Silk Board to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) is likely to be longer than anticipated.
In a written reply to a question by Member of Parliament K.C. Ramamurthy on the status of approval for the project, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said that metro projects are cost intensive and require extensive inter-ministerial consultations. Their approval depends on feasibility of the projects and availability of resources. The project cost is estimated to be ₹14,844 crore.
In his reply, the Minister stated that “no time limit can be specified for sanctions of the project”. This is likely an indication that the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) may have to wait a while for final approval to begin work.
A mass transit project to the airport has been a long-pending demand of people travelling to and from the airport and residents who live along the proposed route. BMRCL had initiated a plan to provide a metro link to the airport in mid-2016. At the time, it had held public consultations to finalise the route.
Initially, there was a proposal to have the metro run from Nagawara to KIA via R.K. Hegdenagar, Jakkur. In December 2017, the State Cabinet approved the project. However, the alignment was dropped due to the presence of a petroleum pipeline and lack of feasibility.
In 2018, BMRCL proposed to change the alignment by extending the ORR line and building a metro corridor via K.R. Puram, Nagawara and Hebbal. In January 2019, the State Cabinet approved the project and a detailed project report was sent to the Union government by November that year.
The BMRCL has already floated tenders for the project and the land acquisition process has reached an advanced stage. BMRCL recently entered into an MoU with Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) for the development and maintenance of two stations within the campus of the KIA.
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had written to the Union government seeking early approval for the project, first in June 2020 and again on September 4, 2020. The project has been proposed on an equal equity sharing model as per Metro Rail Policy – 2017. The Asian Development Bank has agreed to partially fund this project up to $500 million.
Another important project that is pending with the Centre is the suburban rail project, which includes building a link from Majestic to Devanahalli connecting KIA.
Changes in schedule on Green Line
To facilitate pre-commissioning of systems and trains on the extended metro line from Yelachenahalli to Anjanapura on Kanakapura Road, BMRCL has decided to halt metro services one hour before the usual closing time between R.V. Road and Yelachenahalli on Saturday and Sunday (September 19 and 20). In a release, BMRCL stated that this weekend, services between Yelachenahalli and R.V. Road stations will stop at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.
The last train from Yelachenahalli to Nagasandra will leave at 8 p.m. But from Nagasandra, the last train will leave at 6.56 p.m.
On Sunday and Monday (September 20 and 21), train services will be available from 7 a.m. onwards.
“The last train towards Yelachenahalli for passengers travelling on the Purple Line with interchange at Majestic can connect with trains leaving from Baiyappanahalli at 6.55 p.m. and from Mysuru Road at 7 p.m. Thereafter, passengers can travel only till R.V. Road metro station,” the release stated.