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Namma Metro - a peek into the completion schedule

Saturday, January 24, 2009

/ by Srikanth Eswaran

I saw an image in Times Of India, which spelt out the completion times for the Bengaluru Metro or Namma Metro train service. This includes completion of work and commissioning of the actual line. I present that image here for reference:

Source : Times of India.

Currently the line between Byappanahalli terminal and cricket stadium has gathered lots of steam and is on full pace especially in MG Road and CMH road. There have been a few roadblocks in terms of stay orders, but this is hopefull not expected to delay things more than a certain limit of time. So what you see as December 2010 could be well going into 2011 for commissioning. The Peenya to Swastik section of the line could also end somewhere in 2011 December if there are no hitches. Hopefully by 2013 all lines would be ready for use. It is also important to note that 2013 would be the end of BJP regime more or less in Karnataka so a lot depends on how they ensure this activity is complete by then. It is commendable that an extension of the line to Jaraganehalli and Hesaraghatta (shown in green) was done by the current CM. This makes more sense to connect the people of South and North specifically to city center. The lines shown in dark brown would probably be underground and this would be the biggest challenge for the Namma Metro considering uncertainities that would arise while the digging/trenching process is started. There have already been surprises with respect to the magic/match boxes, and the BMRC would have no excuses that this may not occur to them as well.

Monorail considerations are also on to firstly connect in a circular fashion, areas between Trinity circle, Lalbagh, Vijayanagar and Rajajinagar. But there also needs to be a deeper thought process to link up another route on the peripheries of the lines shown on this map. Security remains the top requirement of today for the metro, and no exceptions must be taken in this regard. The simplification of station design ensures that the overall work focus is maintained rather than just commercialization or elevations of these stations and subsequent monetization of the same. Hopefully its a better approach to take more time and do something of good quality once and for all, rather than constrict schedules and firefight at the last moment just to save some skin here and there, and avoid people's wrath. On the compensation front, it seems that BMRC has not learnt enough and they are still lingering the process which might cause further delays. They must realize that evicting necessary people at necessary places is more important at the moment for things to go on smoothly. However this has its own downside with respect to the sentiments of the people who have grown up in their current homes and would be displaced. One good example is the fact that the CMH road approach for Metro was not at all required, and it would have been more easier to run the line on Old Madras Road, considering the fact that CMH road is, was and always would be accessible from OMR from any point.

Another controversy currently going on is the non-consultation with E.Sreedharan on matters related to the Metro. This is a shame that Karnataka has depicted an attitude like this when there is a capable person who is offering his services to bring out things on time. Ego is one thing, and realization of infrastructure in the true sense is another. The latter ultimately would be the collective efforts while the former is about who is the greatest in planning things. You decide which one we want! Its time we induct this man atleast now and make the project go forward faster. Another big difference and problem between Delhi and Namma Metros is the fact that in Delhi the rail route develops first and then everything linked to it, including real estate, whereas in Bangalore its vice-versa. Thousands of properties have been sold by developers harping on a non-existent PRR linking Surjapura and Electronics city even until today. The same thing with NICE Corridor. Whats the point in selling me a property that does not have access to the corridor by quotoing the corridor? It sounds insane. Even more insane is the fact that people actually buy these properties either without doing much research on the facts or sometimes foolishly and knowingly accepting the quirks upfront.

All said and done, I strongly believe and hope and also am sure that change is on the way and hopefully the worst case by 2015 which is exactly six years from now (yes this blog will still exist by then :)) you and I would be taking the train more often than our cars for obvious reasons. I dont want to speak about BMTC linking up with the train routes, as it is evident that they are a self sustaining organization by now and they sure know what they are doing with a man like Tripathi at the helm of affairs. Even before you know it, BRT system will be in place and it certainly will be a well connected enjoyable experience. To end this post, only one question then remains to BMRC - how are you going to make this ride a safe one, what are your policies and plans for security on Namma Metro?

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