Metro's underground leg gets tangled in railway red tape

BMRCL is yet to get approval from Ministry of Railways to start work at several underground stations; officials fear delay may lead to a cost escalation of Rs 100 cr

The Bangalore Metro is yet to start work at crucial stations on its 8.8-km underground stretch, expected to be operational by March 2014, courtesy the Ministry of Railways that is sitting on a plea to give clearance to the project for the past one year.

Delay unavoidable?
Though the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has started the tunneling work on the underground stretch, its officials fear is if the Ministry of Railways fails to grant clearance on time, it would not only delay the project but also lead to a cost escalation of more than Rs 100 crore.

Even as the Metro has started the tunnelling work, it is yet to
get approval for carrying out construction works at crucial stations

The rapid mass transit project has already seen a cost escalation of Rs 3,451 crore to Rs 11, 609 crore from the initial project cost of Rs 8,158 crore.

"We had applied for clearances more than a year ago, but till date many important approvals, including that of permission for starting the station work in City Railway Station, is still pending with the Ministry," said a BMRCL official.

'Clear the mess'

According to the South Western Railway, the matter is getting delayed as the Metro has failed to repair the damaged railway property.

"We have asked the Metro to first repair the damaged roads and clear the clogged drains. We want a clear commitment from them over the matter," said Sudhanshu Mani, Divisional Railway Manager of South Western Railway, Bangalore Division.

The BMRCL has, however, directly sought intervention of the Ministry of Railways to get the clearance. "We are taking the issue directly to the central level and have already written to the ministry," said B L Y Chavan, spokesperson, BMRCL.

Also, the BMRCL is has not got clearance for the Multi-Modal Passenger Integration facility at Yeshwanthpur so far.

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