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Drive to BIAL sure to be hell

You can reach any part of India from Bangalore by air in less than three hours. But you’ll need four hours to go to the Devanahalli international airport from Electronic City by road. With 150 days for the opening of the airport, only one national highway takes you there.

Neither the ambitious dedicated express highway planned by the BMRDA nor the high-speed rail link proposed by the government will materialise in another four to five years. Till then, air passengers have two options — take the soon-to-be choked NH-7 or fly from the HAL airport to the international airport at Rs 1,500 per ticket.

The round table on Tuesday organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) on ‘Connectivity to International Airport’ saw stakeholders cut a sorry figure with no viable alternatives to offer.

On the Bellary Road or the NH 7, your journey to the airport will be a 90-minute drive amid chaotic traffic. It’s ironical that a passenger to Hyderabad or Chennai for a flight of about 30 to 45 minutes will have to endure a 2-hour drive just to get to the airport.

BIAL CEO Albert Brunner ruled out the option of keeping the existing airport open till proper road and rail connectivity is in place. The HAL airport will close operations on March 28 and from March 30, the runways at Devanahalli will be abuzz with action.

The cream of business class — BCIC, FKCCI and CII — waited eagerly for infrastructure secretary V P Baligar. But he had only excuses — the trumpet flyover on NH-7 and airport entrance, expressway or the speed rail link from MG Road to the airport were held up either due to litigation, land acquisition problems or clearance delays.

Those who value their time can opt the HAL airport-Devanahalli transfer by air. The government has worked out a deal with the BIAL on this. However, this may be available for only premium class passengers.


Through NH 7 Bellary Road, distance to airport will be 35 km; via expressway, it will be 22 km Existing traffic is 20,000 Passenger Car Units/day As per BIAL, nearly 11.5 million passengers will take aerial route annually which will increase traffic to 40,000 PCUs

Stakeholders criticised for poor connectivity

Tempers flew high as industry captains questioned people at the helm of affairs about their actions, plans and credentials at the round table on connectivity to the international airport organised by BCIC on Tuesday.

The opening remarks of Albert Brunner, CEO, BIAL say it all: “I have been blamed for completing the project on time.’’

Head honchos wanted to drive home their point — keep the HAL airport open. The rallying points were: What are your plans for transporting passengers to the Devanahalli airport, which is 35 km away? If there is no dedicated road or rail link, why don’t you keep the HAL airport open till then?

However, everyone agreed on two points: there was no alternative to Bellary Road and all dedicated transport systems planned for the airport were still on paper.

Apart from Brunner and infrastructure secretary V P Baligar, BBMP commissioner S Subramanya, BMTC chief vigilance officer P S Sandhu and airport director Narendra Kausal, also the speakers, were mute spectators for most of the time. There weren’t too many takers for their proposals — introduction of Volvo buses, check-in counters in the city, expansion of Bellary Road from Mehkri Circle to Hebbal flyover, satellite checkin at HAL airport. Reason? They don’t serve the purpose.

Not pleased with answers to their questions, the members then sought Brunner’s opinion on whether it was possible to keep the HAL airport open for a short term by entering into agreement with the state government. The answer was a clear ‘No’. Brunner said there were many legal issues and he could not breach the contract entered into with concessionaires.

Courtesy: The Times Of India - 31st Oct 2007

silkboard's picture

Why only now?

Netas and Babus missed it, I can understand. But why was media (can exclude Hindu) and even BIAL itself not vocal enough from earlier itself? BIAL is going to lose some, either by way of money or PR/goodwill, even though connectivity is not really Mr Brunner's problem. If BIAL can logically put some numbers to how much money it could lose due to poor connectivity, why wouldn't it sue BMRDA/KRDCL/GoK etc to make them pay for the 'delay'. And why did BIAL not include any hard terms and conditions around connectivity when it signed its MoUs etc for the airport? The thing is, these things like poor planning, X blaming Y (BBMP says its not their job beyond Hebbal), lack of coordination (where is BMRDA these days?) etc go on because no-one really makes them 'pay' for their inaction. If BIAL were to sue a govt body X and get some money, you could argue that BIAL eventually be getting taxpayers money. But one such successful suing incident could put some fear into these govt bodies. Yeah, things are not as easy as they appear to me. Why would a PPP (public private partnership) body sue a P (public) which is a part of itself? And even if BIAL wasn't a PPP, taking on govt bodies doesn't mean things would happen any faster, ex: BMIC. comment guidelines

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