As a result of the lower cost, the project is likely to get back on track after being derailed by a slew of conditions put forward by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s government. The railway ministry and the state government were at loggerheads over these conditions, including land acquisition.
After a meeting between Kumaraswamy and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday, it was decided that land will be given at a nominal rate. For this, the Centre will now have to tweak the suburban railway policy.
“This is outside the suburban policy and we will have to go back and change it,” Goyal said. This new lease deal, which will be applicable to state government land also, is likely to save about Rs 6,700 crore for the project, said a railways official.
Of the total land requirement of 800 acres for the project, about 617 acres will be railway land.
The Bengaluru suburban project was conceptualised by former CM Siddaramaiah in 2013. The 161-km project is to be completed in six years.
The new rail system will include at least 82 stations with 12 interchanges with the metro and will provide connectivity to the airport.
On Friday, the Karnataka government also agreed to approve the entire corridor, which will have four segments — Kengeri–Whitefield, Bengaluru–Rajankunte, Neelmangala–Bypanhalli, and Heelalige–Devanhalli.
The state government also agreed to share the cost of two doubling projects —Baiyannappahallli-Hosur, Yesvantpur-Banaswadi-Hosur — after prolonged disagreements.
Railways is also planning to introduce multimodal tickets, similar to that of Mumbai in Bengaluru. According to the plan, the Railways will introduce air-conditioned EMU (electrical multiple unit) rakes. The land-leasing norm will be applicable for a period of 45 years, to be extended to 99 years.
The state and the Centre will put in Rs 3,532.5 crore each out of the total project as their equity share. The remaining Rs 10,598 crore was expected to come as loan from bilateral and multi-lateral agencies.