Railways, Karnataka agree to form SPV for Suburban Rail project under ‘K-RIDE’ banner

BENGALURU: The confusion over forming a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the Bengaluru suburban rail project seems to have ended after the government agreed to create it under the Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation (K-RIDE).

The railway board recently told the government there’s no need for a separate SPV for the project since there is K-RIDE already in place.

The government, however, felt a separate SPV would help expedite the project.

“Both the government and railways have now agreed to constitute a new SPV for the project under the K-RIDE umbrella. For this, railways has requested changes in shareholdings of K-RIDE and in the Articles of Association. It is being examined,” said a government official.

K-RIDE, which comes under the infrastructure development department (IDD), was set up in 2000 to develop and implement rail infrastructure projects in Karnataka with private sector participation. However, the suburban rail project comes under the urban development department (UDD).

Union minister for parliamentary affairs HN Ananth Kumar recently sought formation of B(Bengaluru)-RIDE for the suburban network on the lines of K-RIDE for the state.

Activists campaigning for better suburban rail services are unhappy over the delay in formation of SPV. “It is a concrete step from both Union and state governments for their commitment towards a suburban railway system. We are anxious over the delay. All parties should come together to push for an SPV to reduce traffic congestion in the city,” said Srinivas Alavilli from Citizens for Bengaluru, an NGO.

Sanjeev Dyamannavar, a rail activist, said a dedicated SPV is a must for the suburban project. “K-RIDE has other responsibilities but a dedicated SPV will make a big difference”.