Bangalore: The cabinet on Thursday approved the 42-km Light Rail Transit System (LRTS) project proposed by the urban development department to ease the traffic woes of Bengaluru.
The LRTS project was mooted in 2007 to supplement Bengaluru’s bus transport system and act as a feeder network for the Metro rail. However, it did not take off due to lack of political will and bureaucratic complacency. As a result, the cost of the project shot up from Rs 5,600 crore, when it was first conceived, to Rs 11,000 crore now.
“Funding has been a major constraint. The cabinet has directed the urban development department to work out the modalities to mobilize financial resources for setting up a reserve fund to execute the project,” law minister TB Jayachandra said.
The government will bear around Rs 5,000 crore of the total cost of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) System announced in the State budget, said C Jayaram, Director (Projects), Bangalore Airport Rail Link Ltd. “The cost to be borne by the government will include land acquisition charges of the over Rs 10,000-crore project,” he said.
The 42-km route, to be implemented soon, will form Phase-I of the originally proposed 77-km LRT project, he said.
Proposed to supplement Namma Metro’s Phase-I and Phase-II network, the LRT consists of two elevated corridors. It will connect Bannerghatta Road to Hebbal along the Outer Ring Road covering 32 km and from Toll Gate along Magadi Road to the proposed Peripheral Ring Road, another 10 km. Both the corridors will intersect at Nirashritara Parihara Kendra (NPK).
Will Act as Feeders in Future
“In the long run, the LRT and Metro will act as feeders to one another. LRT will boost the ridership for Metro and the latter will, in turn, will provide better ridership of the Light Rail,” Jayaram added.
LRT is part of the Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan proposed to ease traffic congestion in the city, the final report of which was submitted by engineering consultancy firm RITES in June 2011. A Detailed Project Report was submitted by Capita Symonds, a UK concern in 2013.
When asked about the reasons for the delay in implementing it, Jayaram said, “This is a capital-intensive project. Such projects require a longer gestation period than others so that they do not get into any legal tangles.”
Representatives from the French concern Alstom visited Bengaluru last week to make enquiries in connection with the project.
“The government will call for global tenders after cabinet approval,” Jayaram said. He was, however, non-committal on a deadline for completion of the project.
‘An Expensive Affair’
Sanjeev Dyamannavar, an urban commute expert, felt the LRT will be a costly mode of transport compared to other public transport systems. “It is similar to Metro but the coaches are smaller which reduces its carrying capacity.”