The state government is yet to respond to the Centre’s proposal to go for 50:50 cost-sharing in Bengaluru suburban railway project, in return for granting of FAR 5 (floor area ratio) for commercial development railway stations in the city.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday that the Centre was willing to extend all support for the project, provided the Siddaramaiah-led government reciprocated.
Earlier, the Centre had agreed to 80:20 cost-sharing with the state, bearing the higher cost and later suggested that it will bear half of the cost.
“We wrote to the chief minister in January seeking a generous FAR so that the railways can use the property commercially by raising five-storey structures. We are yet to get any response,” said Goyal. The railway ministry said the Centre usually bears 20% of the cost in suburban railway projects, and the rest has to come from the state. But the ministry, the minister said, appreciated Karnataka’s tight financial position, and hence offered to chip in with half the project cost in return for grant of FAR of five times as has been done in Mumbai.
The railways, the minister said, has begun survey work on the proposed 160-km of Bengaluru suburban rail network using drones which will not only speed up the work, but will also be a better guide on alignments and other aspects. The railways will spend Rs 12,000 crore on this project, and invest another Rs 5,000 crore on modern locos and coaches for Bengaluru.
The railways will launch the first phase of the coaching terminal at Byappanahalli with three platforms and four pit lines by December this year, and complete the second phase of opening new platforms and pit lines by December next year. The city has two coaching terminals — the City railway station and Yeshwantpur. The upcoming coaching terminal will help railways introduce new trains to and from Bengaluru which can commence and terminate at Byappanahalli. The larger plan of transforming the station into a world-class one will take some more time, the minister said.
The Minister also launched eight new local services including one pair between Byappanahalli and Whitefield, one pair between Byappanahalli and the city railway station and two pairs between Hosur and Banaswadi.