Indicating another slip in the deadline for the completion of the 42 km first phase of the Bangalore Metro, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday indicated that Phase 1 might be completed only by March 2016 as against last year’s projected deadline of December 2015.
“It is only because of the technical difficulties in the underground section that work is delayed. I have been informed by the BMRCL that 94 percent of the stretch is completed but the entire 42.3 km will be finished by December or March 2016,” Siddaramiah said.
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The Karnataka Chief Minister added that the tendering process for the second phase of the Namma Metro project had begun and would be completed within two weeks. “The 72.1 Kilometer stretch would cost Rs. 13,845 crore, of which apart from Central funds and other loans, Karnataka would bear a cost of Rs. 5000 crore,” he said.
Siddaramaiah was speaking at the inauguration of Reach 3B extension of phase one of the metro project which covers a 3.4 km stretch between Nagasandra and Peenya industrial area in north Bangalore. The metro will cover the 10.5 km stretch from the Mantri Mall at Sampige Road to Nagasandra in 25 minutes. BMRCL MD Pradeep Singh Kharola said that tunneling of the four km underground stretch in central Bangalore was the major challenge before the BMRCL.
Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu who was in attendance said that cities with a population of over 10 lakh could seek central funding for metro. “The smart cities tag and a Metro — these are the two universal demands from everyone concerned in Parliament. The Centre is considering funding metros for cities with more than 10 lakh population instead of the existing 20 lakh limit,” Venkaiah Naidu said.
During the inauguration of the new stretch of the Metro over 50 protesting members from the Karnataka Mahiti Hakku Okkuta displayed placards and shouted slogans against Namma Metro for poor basic facilities like toilets and drinking water at stations. The placards were seized by the police. Siddaramaiah later directed BMRCL to ensure good amenities. The BMRCL MD said that toilets had been provided separately at every station for men, women and the physically challenged.