Aug 18, 2010
With the countdown for operationalising the first lane of the Phase I of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL), Karnataka’s most prestigious ``Nama Metro” project, for regular traffic by December 2010 having already started, Bangaloreans got a glimpse of what is in store for them when the first mock-up of the coach was unveiled.
The model coach stationed on a concrete platform near Anil Kumble Circle was unveiled for public viewing by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa recently as part of the run-up to the inauguration of Namma Metro’s on Reach I between Mahatma Gandhi Road and Byappanahalli covering a 7-kms stretch.
The first set of five trains with each train comprising three cars will arrive from South Korea in October, said a spokesman of BMRCL, adding: The remaining trains will be assembled at the Central public sector undertaking, BEML, and supplied to Namma Metro in a phased manner.
"Orders have been placed with a consortium comprising BEML, Japanese conglomerate Mitusbishi Group and Korean manufacturer of rolling stock, Hyundai Rotem, for supply of 150 metro coaches at a cost of Rs 1,670.76 crore,” Yeddyurappa said after unveiling the model train.
"Trial/test run is expected to be held on Reach I from Byappanahalli to Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium by November,” the BMRCL spokesman indicated.
Progress of work on Reach I was quite satisfactory, according BMRCL Chairman M Ramachandran, who exuded confidence that the December 2010 deadline for commercial operation would be met. Laying of rails on the completed portions of elevated track was under progress, he said.
Hailed as the fastest growing metropolis not only in India but perhaps one of the hottest urban cities in the world, Bangalore has its own share of urban problems. Densely populated, it is known on its traffic congestion and inadequate public transportation system. It perhaps has the highest per capita vehicular population in the world. With burgeoning population and urban chaos, it no longer remains the Pensioner’s Paradise or the Garden City endowed with a salubrious climate that was once its USP.
Efforts were being made over the years to address the city’s woes of public transport system with several proposals ranging from launching a Mass Rapid Transit System, Circular Railway and suburban underground tramway since almost three decades. But none of the schemes or proposals in the pipeline clicked.
In 1982, a study suggested a grandiose Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) of 12.20 kms route length at an estimated cost of Rs 239.15 crore. But in 1983, the Metropolitan Transit Project, an organization of Indian Railways, prepared a feasibility report for provision of suburban rail services on existing lines, a circular railway of 57.9 kms, metro system on two corridors from Rajajinagar to Jayanagar and from Hudson Circle to Krishnarajapuram. Nothing came of it.
After several proposals, the Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Limited (BMRTL) was finally incorporated by the State Government to implement the mass rapid transit system in 1994. BMRTL in turn asked the IL&FS to carry out a feasibility study for LRT System on Public-Private Partnership. However, though the partner was selected, the project did not take off.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in partnership with RITES prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Bangalore Metro Rail, Phase I in 2003 at the instance of the Government. It proposed two double line corridors: East-West and North-South involving a total length of 33 kms.
BMRCL takes birth
Bangalore Metro Rail Ltd (BMRTL) finally took shape with the Karnataka Government clearing the project in March, 2005 and the Union Government giving its approval in April, 2006. The Rs 6,395crore mega project was kick-started by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on June 24, 2006.
However, BMRTL was renamed as Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) and the project took off in January 2007. The original schedule for completion of Reach I was December 2009. But that was quickly extended by a year.
When it looked as if a further delay was likely, the Yeddyurappa regime gave a big push to Namma Metro and the Government spared no efforts to ensure that the December 2010 would be maintained.
Bangalore Metro traverses through the busy commercial and over-crowded residential areas of the city. The first phase consists of two double-line electrified North-South (Byappanahalli to Mysore Road 18.1 kms) and East-West (Yeshwanthpur to R V Road 14.9 kms) corridors covering a total length of 33 kms. Also, another 9.3 kms North Extension to Hessaraghatta Cross by 5.6 kms and South Extension to Puttenahalli by 3.7 kms, taking the total distance in Phase I to 42.3 kms.
The East-West corridor will be 18.10 kms long, starting from Byappanahalli and terminating at Mysore Road terminal, going via Old Madras Road, Indiranagar, C.M.H. Road, Ulsoor, Trinity Circle, M.G. Road, Cricket Stadium, Vidhana Soudha, Central College, Majestic, City Railway Station, Magadi Road, Hosahalli, Vijayanagar and Deepanjali Nagar.
The 24.20 kms North-South corridor will begin at Hessarghatta Road Terminal and terminate at Puttenahalli going via Mahalakshmi, Rajajinagar, Kuvempu Road, Malleswaram, Swastik, Majestic, Chikpet, City Market, K.R. Road, Lalbagh, South End Circle, Jayanagar and Puttenahalli.
Out of the 42.30 km., 8.822 km. will be underground near City Railway Station, Vidhana Soudha, Majestic and City Market and most of the rest will be elevated.
Out of the 42.30 kms, 8.822 kms will be underground near City Railway Station, Vidhana Soudha, Majestic and City Market and most of the rest will be elevated.
The latest progress report, as given out by BMRCL, shows brisk work on all the four reaches indicating that the long wait and ordeal of Bangaloreans to enjoy the benefits of travelling in Namma Metro is nearing fruition.
Work on the 7 kms elevated section in Reach I (Byappanahalli to M G Road) that began in January 2007 is expected to be over in December 2010, while on Reaches II, III and IV (the full network) is expected to be commissioned by September/October 2012.
The entire stretch of Byappanahalli to M G Road is expected to be completed by December 2010.
Not content with the Phase I, the Yeddyurappa regime has decided to extend the North-South Extension at a total cost of Rs 1763 crore comprising Yeshwanthpur to Hessaraghatta Cross Road covering a length of 5.6 kms with six elevated stations at a cost of Rs 1082 crore and R V Road terminal to Puttenahalli Cross on Southern corridor covering a distance of 3.7 kms with three elevated stations at a cost of Rs 681 crore.
Further, the Bangalore Metro has been extended in outlying and rapidly growing regions from Peenya to Bangalore International Exhibition Centre and Byappannahalli and ITPL in the North-South corridor and from Puttenahalli to Anjanapura Layout and between Mysore Road and Kengeri Satellite Town on the East-West corridor to ensure connectivity to almost all the important destinations in Phase II. These extensions to newer routes are proposed to be taken up on public-private-partnership (PPP) model, according to BMRCL, when the total extent covered by Namma Metro will touch 51.3 kms.
Traffic decongestion, comprehensive connectivity, convenience, comfort, affordability, frequency, reliability, safety and aesthetics being the liet motif of Namma Metro, commuters will be encouraged to use the service rather than depend on private vehicles. ``The idea is to complement rather than be the competitive mode of transport and work in tandem with other public transport systems like buses and even mono rail,” said a BMRCL spokesman and said the over-burdened Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses will not run parallel to Metro Rail but act a feeder service. Same will be the case with the proposed Mono Rail system, which will connect major junctions as feeders to the Metro Rail.
The frequency of the Metro trains will be every four minutes initially and increase to three minutes eventually by 2021. The travel time from end to end on the East-West corridor will be 33 minutes and on the North-South corridor will be 44 minutes. The entire system is designed for a maximum train speed of 80 kmph.
Boon to Bangaloreans
Each train with three coaches to start with can accommodate 1000 persons. The number of coaches can be increased to six with the carrying capacity of a six coach train being 2068 persons. It is designed to cater to an estimated 10.20 lakh commuters by 2011 and 16.10 lakh by 2021.
The Metro train fare being considered is around 1.5 times the ordinary bus fare, which is quite affordable to almost all sections of people, and certainly much more economical than the Volvo bus fares or autorickshaws besides being very convenient.
Clearly, when Namma Metro Phase I is fully commissioned by 2012 or at the latest by 2013 and the subsequent phase within a year or two, it will turn out to be a big boon to Bangaloreans and give them a more efficient, economical, convenient and comfortable public transport system in keeping with Bangalore’s growing reputation as the hottest and most happening place to be.