The introduction of suburban trains is not only going to improve the overall lifestyle of the people of Bangalore but it is also going to have a positive impact in the real estate scene. Very soon from now, the people of Bangalore can travel to the neighboring cities around Bangalore by taking the suburban trains. A few years ago, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah gave the historic green signal to development of the suburban rail system that is going to connect Bangalore to all the nearby cities and towns, in the 2013-14 annual budget event. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the government had carried out an overall feasibility study for the suburban rail system that would connect Bangalore to Ramanagaram, Tumkur and various nearby cities and towns. The cost of the project was estimated at around Rs 8759 crore. It was also decided that a detailed and thorough project report for the phase one of this project is going to be prepared. The government has also further proposed the set up of a SPV or special purpose vehicle, called the Bangalore Suburban Rail Corporation for implementing the project.
The state cabinet of Karnataka has now decided to allocate a sum of Rs 345 crore to complete the first phase of Bangalore suburban rail project. The announcement has appealed to numerous experts who now feel that the project in moving into the right direction. The suburban rail development project has been one that had been strongly demanded by the local residents for more than 12 years. In October 2013, the state government of Karnataka sent out a drafted proposal for the suburban rail to railway board. While the project was technically approved in the same year, the allocation of the funds had been pending. With the allocation of the sum now properly finalized, the project can move into the developmental phase.
The feasibility of a railway project in this part of India was studied by RITES Ltd., an enterprise under the Government of India. The feasibility report that was submitted by the RITES Ltd. indicate that the phase one of this project can include an area more than 200 km and include sites like Mandya, Bangarpet, Ramanagaram and Tumkur. A public advocacy organization by the name of Praja has been earnestly pushing for development of the commuter rail network system for the past 2 to 3 years. Muralidhar Rao of the Praja organization feels that this announcement for rail network system has come at the perfect time. He believes that the suburban rail system or the commuter rail system is going to be a cost-effective method of transportation which is going to benefit the general population in a major way. Rao further said that the implementation of this suburban rail system is going to facilitate uniform growth in the various cities around Bangalore like Tumkur, Chikkaballapur, Mandya, Bangarpet, Ramanagaram, Hosur and Doddaballapur apart from reducing congestion in the Villa Projects in Bangalore.
Rao said that according to the estimates of the Praja experts, the investment for this specific project is going to be less than Rs 20 crore for a km as the main rail tracks have already been in place. As SPV decides on the fare the running costs for the railway system can be managed. However, the best part for this rail project is that unlike the commuter rail system in Mumbai, the SPV is not going to depend on Railway Budget for determining the fare. Although the currently existing railway tracks are going to be used for this project, around 58% of the total sum of investment is going to be used for upgrading the railway infrastructure as well as for doubling the tracks. This project is going to help the Indian Railways run additional intercity trains and goods trains. Even though the Karnataka government has already announced the fund allocation, the Railways department still has to come forward and clear the issues related to cost sharing.