Bangalore Metro considers increasing outsourcing manpower for Phase-2

BANGALORE: Following Chennai metro’s model, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) is exploring the option of outsourcing manpower for several sections of maintenance and operations of Namma Metro in Phase 2. Two extended lines on Mysuru Road and Kanakpura Road are scheduled to be opened in the second half of 2020.

Under Phase 1, the BMRCL already outsources staff for various sections including security, housekeeping, issuing of tokens, and other services. It is looking to expand on this for the second phase. When asked about the plan, Ajay Seth, MD, BMRCL, told that the scope is yet to be decided. “We are outsourcing only a part of the maintenance and operations. This will be done for selected requirements,” he said.

To operate and maintain the 42 km Namma Metro line under Phase 1, the BMRCL spent ₹327 crore last financial year, and generated fare box revenue of ₹421 crore. According to a metro official, 60% of the operational cost goes towards towards security and staff salary. “The BMRCL is borrowing thousands of crores. To repay the loan and interest, we have to explore various possibilities to minimise the cost and augment the resources available. It is possible to outsource sections like AC maintenance. The idea is still in the preliminary stages,” the official said.

BMRCL Employees’ Union vice-president Suryanarayana Murthy expressed disappointment with this development, and said that while sections like housekeeping and security can be outsourced, the BMRCL should not follow this model to run crucial functions such operating trains, station-control, traction, signalling and others. “These works require special training and a specific set of skills. The BMRCL is contemplating this model as existing permanent employees are demanding wages on a par with those employed in other metros in the country. They are also demanding that the corporation comply with Pay Commission recommendations. If the BMRCL outsources people for core areas, it will go against the interest of BMRCL employees,” he said.

The 72 km Phase 2 of Namma Metro comprises two new lines — the Yellow Line between R.V. Road and Bommasandra and the Red Line between Gottigere and Nagawara. The existing Purple Line will be extended from Mysuru Road to Kengeri and from Baiyyappanahalli to Whitefield. The Green Line will be extended from Yelachenahalli to Anjanapura and from Hesaraghatta Cross to the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre.

Phase 2, in its entirety, is likely to be completed by 2023. Last month, the Chief Minister had reviewed ongoing metro projects and had asked BMRCL officials to ensure that commencement of commercial operations from Yelachenahalli to Anjanapura and Mysuru Road station to Kengeri is not delayed. BMRCL had announced that these stretches would be operational in the second half of 2020.