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The Railways is working on a proposal to create a suburban railway network for Bengaluru, much like the one in Mumbai, to decongest the city and link it to the airport, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said today. Goyal said the idea was suggested to him before he took over as the railway minister by senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar who told him that he had been pushing for a suburban rail service for the Indian IT capital since 1996. He said that during a review meeting of South Western Railway on September 18, he asked the officials to study the city for a rail network and come up with a preliminary project report for an elevated network. "And possibly also have a road on top of the rail to connect the airport to places of work in the city," Goyal said speaking at the International Conference on Green Initiatives and Railway Electrification here. The minister said he gave the SW Railways 30 days' time to come up with a plan but on September 20, when he was in the city again, he was given a document listing out initial action plans on the project to be executed within 28 days. On September 26, Goyal said the SW railway construction wing of Bengaluru awarded the consultancy to the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES), a government of India initiative, for a conceptual planning and study of the proposal. By October 1, the minister said he was presented with a rough assessment on the availability of land for commercial use including the relocation requirements. "They used google to locate and prepare the plan where land is available because the scheme has to be self-financed.
Then they identified various sections which need to be elevated and also pointed out which were to be done on ground," he said. By October 18, the RITES had already finalised an initial conceptual plan with drawings of how the project will look like, where the routes will be and with height and elevation details, the minister said. "So in a months' time, we have a proposal upon which the IR (Indian Railways) can now start deliberating. "I am sharing this to reflect the new confidence with which the Indian Railways is working with the commitment to time-bound delivery of services," said Goyal.
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