Bengaluru Suburban Rail’s 452 Km Expansion Plan Derails As Railways Opposes Pre-Feasibility Study

V Bhagya Subhashini

Nov 28, 2023, 11:36 AM | Updated 11:45 AM IST

Suburban Rail. (Representative image/X)
Suburban Rail. (Representative image/X)

The Karnataka government's proposal to conduct a pre-feasibility study for extending Bengaluru's suburban rail network to Mysuru, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Tumakuru, and nearby towns faces obstacles.

Previously, Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Company (K-RIDE) submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Railways seeking approval for a pre-feasibility study.

The proposal aims to extend the Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project (BSRP) by 452 km, connecting nearby cities and towns. The existing BSRP project plan comprises four corridors with a total length of 148.17 km.

Senior Indian Railways’ officials contend that there is insufficient justification for conducting such a study.

The matter gained prominence in discussions related to mobility when Infrastructure Minister M B Patil proposed the extension of the suburban rail network to towns surrounding the tech capital through K-RIDE to enhance connectivity.

However, in response to K-Ride, the South Western Railway (SWR) asserted that Indian Railways has already undertaken adequate planning to meet future demand, rendering the need for a reevaluation unnecessary.

Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited (K-RIDE) is a joint venture of the government of Karnataka and the Ministry of Railways.

The SWR's communication urged K-Ride to prioritise expeditious execution and the completion of ongoing projects, citing concerns about slow progress and delays in the schedule, reports the Economic Times.

The Railways emphasised that various measures have been implemented to enhance connectivity between Bengaluru and satellite towns.

These measures include track upgrades and speed enhancements on corridors such as Bengaluru-Jolarpettai, Bengaluru-Dharmavaram, and Bengaluru-Tumakuru.

The letter also highlighted the completion of work to increase speed to 130 kmph on the Bengaluru-Bangarpet-Jolarpet section.

Ongoing efforts involve the quadrupling of the Bengaluru Cantonment to the Whitefield section with automatic signalling, with a targeted completion date of 2024-25.

The final location survey for quadrupling the Bangarpet-Jolarpet, Bengaluru-Tumakuru, and Bengaluru-Mysuru sections has received approval.

Bengaluru Suburban Railway Project

The existing BSRP project plan comprises four corridors with a total length of 148.17 km.

These corridors include KSR Bengaluru City to Devanahalli (Corridor-1 — 41.4 km), Baiyappanahalli to Chikkabanavara (Corridor-2 — 25.01 km), Kengeri to Whitefield (Corridor-3 — 25.01 km), and Heelalige to Rajanukunte (Corridor-4 — 46.25 km).

Proposed BSRP Plan (KRIDE)
Proposed BSRP Plan (KRIDE)

Currently, groundwork has commenced only on the Mallige Line, with the first piers taking shape at Hebbal. Larsen and Toubro has emerged as the lowest bidder for the civil contract for the Kanaka Line, and K-RIDE is expected to award the contract soon.

On 20 June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the suburban rail project in the city. He promised that the project would be completed in 40 months.

Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project is planned to link Bengaluru to its satellite townships, suburbs, and surrounding rural areas through a rail-based rapid-transit system network.

In an effort to streamline the project, a tripartite agreement was formalised recently, involving the government of Karnataka, Indian Railways and K-RIDE.

V Bhagya Subhashini is a staff writer at Swarajya. She tracks infrastructure developments.

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