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Bengaluru sub-urban railway: Kanaka corridor faces extended delay in development

The Kanaka corridor of Bengaluru's suburban railway project faces delays in land acquisition from the South Western Railway, stalling the contract five months post-tender. K-Ride's efforts to award the contract have hit a standstill, hindering the 40-month project timeline. Conflicting railway plans and technical obstacles compound the issue, raising concerns about the project's future and emphasizing the need for urgent action.

Bengaluru sub-urban railway: Kanaka corridor faces extended delay in development vkp
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First Published Dec 5, 2023, 9:15 AM IST

Bengaluru's ambitious suburban railway project, specifically the Kanaka corridor spanning from Heilalige to Rajanukunte, encounters further setbacks as the contract for its construction remains pending, five months after the tender's opening. The primary cause cited for this delay is the protracted process of land acquisition from the South Western Railway.

Despite the Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Company (K-Ride) declaring intentions to award the contract swiftly to the lowest bidder post-tender, progress has stagnated. The expected initiation of work on the 'Kanaka' route hasn't materialized, leading to mounting concerns. K-Ride's requisition of 194.07 acres for the project remains unfulfilled, reportedly due to a delay policy followed by the South Western Railway.

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The tender, unveiled last July, garnered interest from notable companies like Larsen and Turbo, Afcons, Intervo, and Dinesh Chandra R. Aggarwal Infracon. However, the expected timeline for contract awarding has elapsed, stretching over 150 days without resolution.

The Railway Board's Gatishakti Yojana Director F.A. Ahmed addressed the issue last October, urging swift action from South Western Railway's General Manager Sanjeev Kishore regarding land allocation to K-Ride. A stipulated 40-month timeframe for project completion has been established, but the impasse over land acquisition persists despite directives.

A significant factor contributing to the delay appears to be conflicting plans within the South Western Railway, aiming to develop a six-track railway in certain sections earmarked for the Kanaka Marg. K-Ride, overseeing the Suburban Railway Project, seeks clarification amid the persistent exchange of letters, while technical hurdles from the railway's end further impede land handover.

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The Kanaka Corridor, the fourth segment of the suburban railway project, spans 46.285 km, incorporating elevated stretches of 8.96 km and ground-level tracks of 37.92 km. Envisioned to host a depot at Silk Board and 19 stations, including interchanges at Yalahanka and Benniganahalli, the project aims to connect key locales like Rajanukunte, Muddanahalli, Hegde Nagar, Marathahalli, among others.

Notably, the delay in land acquisition raises concerns about the project's progression, as emphasised by urban transport expert Rajkumar Dugar, urging swift action from parliamentary and state officials. Failure to expedite land transfer may exacerbate the project's already prolonged delay, impacting Bengaluru's crucial infrastructure development.

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