The State government is ready to concede to the demand by Railways for a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 5 that the Railways had demanded in return for funding 50% of the cost of the Rs 17,000-crore suburban network for the City.
Responding to Union Parliamentary Affairs and Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananthkumar’s remark on the Railways seeking an increase in FAR from the existing 2.5 to 5, George announced, “In principle we agree.” FAR refers to the amount of usable floor area permitted for any building.
“Permitting a higher FAR allows the Railways to make more use of its existing land,” explained an official.
Urban Development Minister K J George called upon the Railways to enter into a 50:50 funding pattern to fund the 161-km suburban network. “The first phase is likely to cost Rs 1,800 crore. The Detailed Project Report is being readied. We will start the work at the earliest,” he said.
“The State has already released Rs 100 crore out of the Rs 350 crore required for the MEMU coaches,” he added.
Ananth Kumar called for the setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle, B-RIDE for the suburban network on the lines of the Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Enterprise (KRIDE) for the State.
Chairman and Managing Director of BEML D K Hota said the concern was very keen on manufacturing the suburban coaches for the Railways. “We are pitching for it and can deliver it faster than others,” he said.
“BEML can manufacture 800 rail coaches a year. We can use our facilities at KGF and Palakkad too to ensure timely delivery,” he said.
“BEML presently manufacture 30 Metro coaches every month,” he added.