The state government of Karnataka seems hesitant to embrace the metro corridor between Hosur and Bommasandra, which could potentially become south India's first interstate metro.
The proposed Bommasandra-Hosur Metro corridor spans a total distance of 20.5 km, with 11.7 km falling in Karnataka and the remaining 8.8 km in Tamil Nadu.
Priyank Kharge, the Information Technology and Biotechnology Minister, has expressed his concerns about the proposed interstate metro connectivity between Hosur and Bommasandra. He views it as counterproductive and potentially detrimental to the state's interests.
Government officials in Karnataka are worried that the metro connectivity between Hosur and Bommasandra could lead to a shift of micro and small-scale industries and startups from Bengaluru's IT hub, Electronic City, to Hosur.
Factors such as lower land rates, a growing industry intake, and a lower cost of living make Hosur an attractive alternative for businesses.
The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has already started preparing the tender document for a feasibility study of the interstate metro. Bommasandra is part of Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited's (BMRCL) phase 2 project, falling on the Yellow Line.
The Yellow Line is expected to be operational by the end of this year. Additionally, the Bengaluru suburban rail project has proposed an extension to Hosur.
Earlier, the CMRL had written to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) seeking approval to move forward by conducting a feasibility study for the construction of the proposed rail link.
For the same, the Karnataka government, in 2022, had also written to MoHUA, giving its concurrence to the project, as it will support a large number of people to travel between Hosur and Bengaluru without much hassle.
“The interstate metro connectivity between Bommasandra and Hosur will be counterproductive for Karnataka’s investment prospects. We cannot afford to lose human resources and investment opportunities, which have been our greatest strengths. We are not against any infrastructure project, but it is important we think of our state’s interests first. The government will respond to this accordingly,” said Kharge, reports Indian Express.
B V Gopal Reddy, president of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI), dismissed concerns about industries or startups relocating to Hosur due to metro connectivity.
He emphasised that investment opportunities are primarily influenced by government incentives. Furthermore, there is a push to encourage investment in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, as Bengaluru has reached its saturation point for investments, particularly in the Electronic City-Hosur region.
Reddy acknowledged both pros and cons of the interstate metro proposal, highlighting the higher electricity charges in Tamil Nadu compared to Karnataka but also the cheaper land rates. However, he believes that metro connectivity will not hinder investments in Bengaluru, but rather foster an exchange of labour between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Hosur is home to more than 500,000 people and around 3,500 industries, including both small and medium-sized enterprises and major companies such as Ashok Leyland, TVS, and Titan.
Many homegrown EV companies like Ather, Ola Electric, and Simple Energy have already set up manufacturing units in the Hosur-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri region.
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