The much-hyped High-Speed Rail Link (HSRL) connectivity from city to Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is likely to take a back seat as the state government is keen on extending the proposed phase 2 of the Namma Metro project from Nagavara to BIA.
Considering various factors, including the huge costs involved in the HSRL project and the ridership volume, the government is focussed more on completing the Namma Metro project. As part of the phase 2 of the Namma Metro project, there is a proposal to connect Indian Institute Management Bangalore to Nagavara, covering 21.25 km.
If Namma Metro is extended from Nagavara to BIA it would require incremental costs of `4100 crore. On the other hand, the HSRL project would require over `9,400 crore.
Phase 2 of the Namma Metro project will cover 72.09 km with 61 stations of which 12 will be underground.
The cost of the project is estimated to be `26,405.14 crore. BMRCL is expecting that the central government will approve the proposed project in two to three months.
Speaking to DNA, principal secretary of urban development department Amita Prasad said: “The state government is keen on completing both the phases of the Namma Metro project by 2017. BMRCL has made a proposal to extend the Namma Metro from Nagavara to BIA. Considering the cost and other issues, extending Metro is more viable as of now.”
When asked whether the HSRL project has been shelved, she said: “It has not been shelved yet. The decision on the HSRL needs to be taken at various levels and nothing has been finalised yet.”
As per a report submitted to the state government by BMRCL, the travel time in HSRL would be 29 minutes while in Namma metro, it would be 44 minutes as it has a station at every kilometre. Urban transport expert Ashwin Mahesh said: “Namma Metro is a better option than HSRL as it is going to cover many of the areas in the city. The government can think of skipping some stations so that air travellers reach faster.”
The HSRL was planned from MG Road till BIA via Cubbon Road, Chowdaiah Road, Ramana Maharshi Road and Bellary Road. The infrastructure development department had formed the Bangalore Airport Rail Link (BARL) to implement the HSRL project on a Build Operate and Transfer basis. Former infrastructure minister Janardhana Reddy was determined to go ahead with the project but his arrest led to delays in implementing the project.