200 Crorers - Initial Investment to start Bengaluru CRS in 6 to 12 months time!
With Congress Government in rule at the state and Shri. Mallikarjuna Kharge taking charge of Railway Ministry, the chances of 'Namma Railu' aka Bengaluru CRS getting implemented has increased ever than before. The competitive challenges has also increased ever than before.
It is learned from reliable sources that different groups have been putting pressure on GOK to implement projects they think are in Bangalore's interest. Some are Bangalore centric, some for building new satellite towns etc. Recent news of BMRCL's plans to expand metro with 265 KM network. I wish this will not play to detrimental of 'Namma Railu' cause.
Bangalore city does need lot of attention and personally don't see any harm to all the sustainable urban transport solutions like putting more METRO network inside the city, re-hauling BMTC services to increase its connectivity & last mile foot print, increased NMT infrastructure and formalization of auto and taxi services.
But in that pursuit, neglect of suburbs and towns around Bangalore is not in its interest. Otherwise, it will be start of a decaying city like Kolkota with crumbling urban infrastructure.
Bangalore doesn't need to build new satellite towns. The existing towns of Kolar, Tumkur, Ramangaram, Mandya, Chikballapur, Doballapur, Bangarpet, Malur can be helped to become satellite towns of Bangalore. In that scheme of things, provision of mass suburban transit system is the best catalyst for promoting growth of these towns. To that extent, the proposed 'Commuter Service for Bengaluru' is the least expensive, most beneficial and largest carrying capacity solution. Nothing can come close to it on any one of these accounts.
Per RITES Report,Chapter 3, Sec 3.7
- To work as high density urban transit system,
- To work as suburban commuter system
Which basically means, CRS can cover the CITY-CORE as well as the suburbs very well with 440 KM of network. One transit system serving two different commuter sections, each one benefiting for their own purposes.
In terms of investment, RITES estimates a total investment of 8759 crores for building full fledged 440 KM of CRS network in Bengaluru. In cost comparison this is what it would look like,
Though the 8759 crores is a huge investment, but it is for 440 KM of CRS network to be built in 3 Phases over 5 to 6 year time period. That will provide for a carrying capacity of 20 lakh commuters/day.
What is important to note in this debate is the following words of RITES Report, Sec 8.5, 8.6
"...However, during the meeting organised by DULT on 11th July 2012, some Railway officials present expressed that a small sub-set of activities out of total scheme of CRS project can be completed immediately (in about 6 months to 1 year time) and a few additional services can be run to give some immediate service to the public and rest of the CRS project can follow later. The Railway officials present during the meeting were DRM, CTPM and other divisional officers (along with GoK and RITES officials). Sub-set of activities suggested were by the Railway officials were:
- Procurement of 5 MEMU rakes ( 105 Crores)
- Making SBC – BNC into twin single line and BNC – BYPL into automatic signalling or IBs. (8 Crores)
- Development of 4 pit lines at BYPLN. (40 Crores)
- Development of 2 additional pit lines at YPR (20 Crores)
There are 2 important aspects this section talks about which needs everybody's attention. One, unlike earlier years/times, SWR officials are in agreement for starting the identified initial services. Two, initial investment needed to make it happen is very small compare to other projects of such nature. It all needs now is 200 Crores.
Though the question of remaining investment persists, but RITES has recommended the SPV route for that investment with funding from institutions like World Bank, ADB etc as done in case of MRVC, Mumbai.
Some of you might be skeptical about IR's interest and willingness to make it happen including the fare policy. Whether one likes it or not, IR will be one of major stake holders as CRS is depended on its infrastructure and possibly the O&M also. On fare policy one can appreciate the RITES recommendations of 'Suburban Fare Policy' plus surcharge to develop CRS on continuous basis.
For details see RITES Report, Sec 9.5
Hope the state government takes all these into account and moves forward on implementing CRS in Bengaluru.