The Ministry of Railways has finally approved the most-awaited suburban rail system for Bengaluru.
On Thursday, in a letter to additional chief secretary of urban development Mahendra Jain, the Railway Ministry said the Railway Board has agreed to the proposal of the Karnataka government for conversion of 15 existing short-distance passenger trains into Mainline Multiple Electric Units (MEMU), the Times of India reported.
These MEMUs will be equipped with 12 bogies at a budget of Rs 327.79 crore. The ministry also approved a proposal to take up enhancement of maintenance facilities for MEMU at Banaswadi at a budget of Rs 29.45 crore.
This suburban rail project is stipulated to be taken up on a cost-sharing basis. The ratio of which will be 80:20 between Karnataka and the ministry of railways. The project is said to be implemented by the railways, and not the special purpose vehicle mooted by the Karnataka government.
“As of now, we have agreed to pay 80% of the cost and the Railway Board has agreed to pay the rest. We want to start the work on suburban rail as of now for the benefit of commuters in Bengaluru and later bargain for 50:50 cost-sharing,” Mahendra Jain told TOI.
An MoU between the ministry of railways and the Karnataka government for the development of the suburban rail project was signed on January 16, 2017, four years after the government sent it out.
The Railway Ministry’s letter also mentioned that the work of enhancement of maintenance facilities for MEMU rakes at Banaswadi will be taken up after it is approved in the Union government’s supplementary budget of 2017-18.
“The Railways has agreed to provide two MEMU rakes during the financial year and the remaining seven MEMU rakes in 2018-19 for manufacturing units of Indian Railways since 15 short-distance passenger trains require nine rakes,” the letter stated.
The demand for suburban rail across the city has had a long journey of over 12 years.The movement gathered momentum following the `chukubukubeku’ campaign.
If not anything, the suburban rail project across the city is sure to ease the traffic woes of Bengalureans!