The Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) Managing Director N. Sivasailam has been shunted out of the BMRCL without any posting, following allegations of alleged ‘unfriendly’ behaviour with the public, coupled with delays in executing the Namma Metro project and for his supposed unilateral decisions regarding the realignment of Phase 2. Apart from this, there is severe criticism in the recent past on the project progress and planning. The government issued an order on Saturday, shunting him out of the BMRCL.
Bengaluru: Sivasailam, who had held the position of BMRCL MD for five years, has been replaced by Pradeep Singh Kharola. There have also been allegations that BMRCL has ducked many vital queries sought through Right To Information (RTI) Act. Sivasailam’s responses to queries raised during a recent public interaction has not gone down well with citizens of Bengaluru, who have expressed their displeasure at the government level. It has been alleged that this is not the first time that Sivasailam has replied bluntly to the public and to the media.
Apparently, Sivasailam had dismissed public queries at the interaction organized by MP Ananth Kumar on August 3, telling disgruntled citizens to take their issues to court. At the interaction, he also claimed that his technical knowledge surpasses that of the public and that his actions can only be questioned in court.
Many of his decisions were reportedly not transparent either, except for one-sided information posted on the BMRCL’s official website. Also, Sivasailam himself has admitted that the project is lagging behind at least by six months.
Another serious allegation levelled against him was that he had failed to resolve the issues pertaining to land acquisition, be it government or private property.
The Karnataka Information Commissioner (KIC) has pulled up Sivasailam for failing to furnish information sought through RTI.
RTI activist Narasimha Murthy said that the officers who hold the position of MD, BMRCL must be transparent, said Murthy.
He should have been shunted out earlier and replaced by an honest and efficient officer. The successors must be transparent and not delay the project which will have an impact on the state’s exchequer, he added.
BMRCL MD instrumental in project: officials Bengaluru: Officials in BMRCL, remain loyal to the former MD, claiming that Sivasailam was instrumental in taking the Namma Metro project forward. The progress of the Namma Metro Phase 1 was just 2% complete when he took over. Reach 1, between MG Road and Byappanahalli was flagged off during Sivasailam’s tenure.
Sources attributed the delay of the project to land acquisition and the obtaining of clearances from various departments to run the metro train for commercial operations.Kharola refused to discuss his new role until he gets an official order. He will assume his charge as MD BMRCL on Monday.
Sivasailam posted on a networking site, “My last tweet as MD of NammaMetro. My successor is my colleague & friend Pradeep Singh Kharola.He reports on Monday.Thank you Best Wishes.” (sic)
BMRCL studies market value of acquired land
The BMRCL’s Phase II is mired in controversy, with many residents and tech park owners opposing the project. However, it has been learned that BMRCL has started assessing the market value of properties and has has sought a private real estate consulting agency to assist the corporation in evaluating their value.
For the 72 Metro line under Phase II, BMRCL requires 180-200 hectares of land, covering 1,500-2,000 properties that will be demolished.
Members of the Jayadeva Interchange Metro Victims’ Forum have urged the state government to take steps to avoid acquisition of private properties. Many tech park owners have also opposed the project, saying land acquisition and the subsequent demolition will badly affect their business.
The BMRCL plans to launch phase II of the Metro project soon, with four extension lines, two new lines and 61 stations. The four extension lines are expected to provide last-mile connectivity to commuters.
The BMRCL, which is identifying the land and structures for the project, will appoint private real estate consultants to assess the market value of land proposed to be acquired. The consultants will evaluate the value of properties, but the BMRCL Land Committee will take the final decision on what compensation is to be paid to affected parties.