The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) Board of Directors has approved a $335 million (Rs 2,159 crore) loan for a 100% electric metro project that will reduce traffic and pollution and increase employment and mobility in India. The investment in the Bangalore Metro Rail Project-Reach 6 (R6) is AIIB’s first metro project and its first joint financing partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB). EIB is the project’s lead financier with Euro 500 million in funding.
In May 2016, AIIB and EIB signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a framework of cooperation to conduct regular dialogues and explore joint infrastructure project financing. The Bangalore Metro Rail Project-R6 is the first project resulting from that framework.
By expanding the city’s metro system, the project will provide high-capacity north-south connectivity through the centre of Bengaluru, India’s third most populated city with a population of 9.6 million. Primary beneficiaries will be the commuters who travel along the corridor, with residents and commercial establishments along the line as secondary beneficiaries. Travel times for some journeys impacted by the lack of a metro system are expected to drop from two hours today to 15 minutes when the R6 line is completed.
“We are investing in this metro project because of its potential to greatly improve the mobility of commuters and further economic growth through better connectivity,” said AIIB Vice President and Chief Investment Officer D.J. Pandian.
“The project’s impact on the reduction of fuel consumption and traffic congestion will also help reduce local air pollution and noise and make Bengaluru a more liveable city. We look forward to continuing to review metro projects in India, and across Asia, that will support connectivity and introduce greener methods of transportation,” he said.
R6 is a key part of Phase-II of the Bangalore Metro Rail Project and a key component of the future rail link to the international airport. Operations will be entirely electric, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping mitigate climate change effects. The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited is the entity implementing the project.