The entire 42-km first phase of the Bangalore Metro Rail project that was earlier projected for completion in March 2015 will now be completed by September 2015, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) managing director Pradeep Kharola claimed here on Wednesday even as he announced that tendering for the 72 km phase II of the project would begin within two months.
“By November this year Reach 3 and Reach 3 A that is operational till Peenya will be extended upto Hesaraghatta Main Road and the distance of 6.52 kilometres between Magadi Road to Mysore Road will be completed by December 2014,” Kharola said speaking at an interaction organized by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI).
Commenting on the progress of work in the project Kharola said that delays had arisen due to the short stretch of underground work on the East West corridor that is scheduled to be completed by March 2015. Kharola attributed the cost escalation for Phase I from the initial Rs 11,600 crores to Rs 13,800 crores to the almost doubling of the cost of land procurement from Rs 1,400 crores to Rs 2200 crores and the fluctuating rupee in recent years.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the course of his presentation of the state budget in February this year had stated that the central government had approved phase II of the Bangalore Metro project. “Work relating to the second phase of Metro comprising 61 Stations covering the distance of 72.10 km is planned to be completed at the cost of Rs.26405 crore. For this, approval of the central government has been received,’’ he said. The target date for completion of the 42 km first phase of the Bangalore Metro project was March 2015, he had stated.
So far only 17 km of the 42 km first phase of the Bangalore Metro has become operational. A 10.30 km stretch of the metro rail with 10 stations on reach 3 of the project from Peenya to Swastik Circle in north Bangalore was opened for commercial operations earlier this year to add to the 6.7 km in east Bangalore that opened October 2011. The work on the metro project began in 2006.
The BMRCL managing director in the course of his interaction at the FKCCI also stated that Namma Metro will be conducting a series of mock drills at Reach 1 (MG Road to Baiyappanahalli stretch). Under the guidance of its own staff passengers will be trained to react in case of emergencies like power failure or extreme cases like a stranded train, he said.
“Unlike Delhi Metro, pasengers cannot walk on tracks since its electrified, so either the metro staff will tug the stranded train to the nearest station or send a backup train to take the passengers to a safe destination.” Kharola however said that BMRCL had so far faced only two instances of technical glitches on its trains.