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Namma Metro

I was supremely disappointed on reading this story in today's Deccan Chronicle. A quid pro quo with Bangalore for an elevated metro was to have good looking stations. Now we are going to get eyesores up in the sky, and are not even sure if there will be basic ameneties like lifts and escalators.

Can someone on Praja explain the structure of BMRCL and what options we have to force them to stick to their original ideas. There must have been some clause in the concession to prevent deficiency in service and aethetics.

Metro: BMRC on cost-cutting spree

Bengaluru Sept. 24: The much-touted plan by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd high-tech and aesthetic stations on MG Road is not likely to materialise. The BMRCL, which is in cost-cutting mode has been doing a complete turnaround to shelve the earlier plan and have no frills stations. “The present design for all the six stations on Reach One — M.G. Road station at Plaza, station opposite Nalli Silks, Trinity station, CMH Road, Old Madras Road station and Byappanahali have been shelved. All six stations will be ordinary with absolutely no frills. In fact, the earlier proposal had suggested an estimated cost of Rs 10 to Rs 12 crore on each station which was designed by RITES and leading architects of the city. Now the authority wants to spend only Rs 1 crore on each of these stations in a bid to save as much as Rs 50 crore,” said the officer.

The authority is also having second thoughts over redoing the promenade which saw over a dozen heritage trees being removed.  When contacted, BMRC managing director N. Sivasailam, said, “I don’t know. I cannot answer. There is a board meeting on September 27 and the board  will decide as to what to do with the designs and stations. I cannot comment as of now.” According to the earlier plan, all stations were  supposed to have distinct, unique architectural features with multiple escalators  for entry and exit, kiosks for ATMs and ticketing, coffee shops, bookshops, souvenir shops, lifts with Braille  buttons, signage conforming to international standards, heritage of Karnataka depicted in the form of art works and murals, CCTVs for total surveillance, smoke and fire sensors apart from utilities including automatic fare collection. Now, that’s history.



Devesh Agarwal


ashwin's picture

Tragically short sighted decision

I totally agree with you Devesh. This is an extremely disappointing move, and imo, very-very short sighted. If all this is to save 50 crores - less than 1% of the total project cost, it borders on the outrageous. Considering the slamming BIAL has gotten (unfairly imo) for a very finely constructed airport, with some politicos even comparing it to a Public Bus Stand, I wonder what word they will use to describe these stations once they come up - some choice words come to mind. The Metro is a legacy that will last us a 100 years. Metro stations are the pride of their cities in places as disparate as Washington DC & Moscow. We can't just sit quiet and let this happen. I would suggest all my concerned fellow citizens to make their voice heard on this issue. You could start by writing to the BMRC MD at Write letters to your local MLAs, many of whom are ministers in the current government. If you have contacts in the media, urge them to take up this issue. At the very least, BMRC cannot be allowed to get away with fiction of "minor modifications" to station design that they keep trotting out to the local papers. They need to be far more transparent about what they are doing and keep the citizenry informed.
kbsyed61's picture

Dichotomy !

What an dichotomy of my city: It is absolutely OK to spend 75 lakhs on one day meeting (ABIDE), celebrating the lethargy, inefficiencies, no work culture of our government babus? Politicians patting on each others back for not doing anything meaningful to the city. NGO feeling proud to do the work that Babu's doesn't want to do, even though he/she gets paid for? But it is not OK to spend some 50 crores giving some decent amneities to the public, which have been denied for lats 60 years in the name of austerity and savings. But my MLA/MP houses are getting bigger, grandeur, swanky and plush with fleet of luxury cars. If it is OK to just make some bus stand like stations, then what are we cribbing and whining about BIAL not spending another 200 crores?
tsubba's picture

promenade at MG Road

i can appreciate that the BMRC wants to optimize costs. But the promenade on MG Road is a landmark for Bangalore.  BMRC would earn a lot of good will from the public if it returns the promenade, which remains one of the few public spaces in bangalore, in good and usable condition.

about the architecture itself, a few landmark locations perhaps the BMRC can respond to. at places like CMH Rd the facade would be covered by neighbouring buildings, and rationalization is perhaps welcome, but at important places like MG road, Jayanagar stations, where the facade of the station would standout perhaps the stations could be resonant with the local aesthetics.

stairs are more robust and energy efficient, but elevators are convenient for physically challenged. perhaps, they can comeup with graded slopes for access. i am pretty sure, there are cost effective designs that  can balance the two. just make sure that the physicaly handicapped and the elderly can access it.

i dunno how to say this nicely, but a robust, functional and appropriatetly aesthetic facility is mch more important than flashy, statement making facility.

then ofocurse, i would urge BMRC to be aggressive to coverage and to be a aggressively pursue every single kilometer of coverage they can obtain. we are a circular land locked city. need more than the radials.




ssheragu's picture


ssheragu Hello Devesh and Ashwin I have sent an e-mail to Mr. Sivasailam and it is appended below, as desired. Praja can follow it up To Mr. Sivasailam MD BMRC Dear Sir, I am a Praja member. We are given to understand that instead of spending Rs 12 crores on each Metro station and making them high tech, useful, posh, plush, aestehtically exquisite and each being a masterpiece and also as a tourist spot / attraction, you are planning to spend just Rs 1 crore on each station (to cut down costs) and are building dingy, dull, stations. These stations when built wil end up as nothing but as third clas waiting rooms, within a short time of their opening. You can very well understand that we, Bangaloreans and you too, deserve good & posh stations. Further you are not going to save much as it is going to be only 1% or 2% of the total cost. Finally, a high tech sttaion as a luxurious masterpiece will earn revenue more than its investment cost in a very short time and it will keep on generating wealth for Metro. So we, at Praja, on behalf of all of Bangalore, request you to stick to the original plan of spending Rs 12 crores or more for each station and build exquisite stations for the utility of the public and for the benfit of the tourism department and never construct Rs 1 crore stations, which will soon become antiquated. We trust you will genuinely consider the views & aspirations of the Bangalore citizens and provide us quality, exquisite & useful metro stations. Thanking you in anticipation Srinath Heragu
Ravi_D's picture

Cost cutting

Cost cutting? What for?

Let us understand what they are up to. Is Metro getting pinched for money already? Wasn't this cost of stations figured into the original estimate (and escalations since)?

All of us know the state of such public infrastructure. Go see inside of your neighborhood bus shelter (or bus stop). We certainly don't need gloomy infrastructure, and certainly don't need Metro stations to be that way. Imagine a spanking new metro emerging out of an unpainted, smelly lump of steel and concrete.

We should obtain detailed designs for the metro stations and analyze if they adequately address the needs:

accessibility: how does someone get to the station from both sides of the roads, stairs, escalators, elevators, access to trains, width of the platform

amenities: how many have a place to sit while waiting on a train, rest rooms, water fountains

ticket counters: adequacy, methods, how many can queue up?

interchange points: distance to bus stand, method of transfer, access to drop-off / pick-up types

If above means spending 50cr on each station, so be it! We should stop accepting mediocre plans and designs, just because it costs less...



idontspam's picture

Agree with Ravi

Who/what are we saving this money for? This will end up like the BIA case. Save a few crores and end up with a lot handwringing and there will be a "reopen MG road the way it was before metro" campaign. There will be efforts on RTI from Praja, a few sarkari commissions and then we will put up with another crap pice of infrastructure every body ends up hating. Save money by finishing early and not getting into cost escalations. Save money by reducing input costs. Save money by enhancing quality during construction. Save money by negotiating better contracts with supplier etc. not by giving us crappy looking metro in our downtown. Look how hurriedly they approved their crappy designs. Only shows all the design competitions were an eye wash.
narayan82's picture

Can we see the stations? before we lambast Metro with our queries, can actually ask BMRCL to release "confirmed"artists impressions of how the revised stations will look? That way we can see what the cost cutting is... going by what their sites states Mg Road looks ok to me (below)

So do Jayanagar (I do wish they change the pink!!), R V Road, Ulsoor . Vijaynagar and Mahalakshmi Layout

BUT!!! - CMH road Usloor and trnity circle is a huge dissapointment


IMHO - if they can build somehting that isnt as bad a a concete shed, and need not be a Norman Foster Landmark, it can always be developed further in the years to come. Budget is a constraint, and we must learn to make do with it and find the best within the constraints.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
silkboard's picture

1 crore? 10 crore? - confusing news

I am confused now. I saw the RFP/tenders for 3 more stations in papers today - the cost mentioned for 3 stations is Rs 111 crores. Whats this 10 crore and 1 crore Deccan Herald article is talking about?

We are clearly mis-informed here, or those tenders are inflating costs.

I will pull those BMRCL tenders out from papers (scan) and put up a separate post to express my cost confusion.

idontspam's picture

The stations

Take a close look at those stations. Only the roof is different. The rest of the structure is just differently placed entry and exit stairs. What is wrong with a Norman Foster landmark? Why do people go for a Norman Foster landmark? Why doesnt Bangalore deserve a Norman foster landmark? They also need to answer what Ravi has posed above in terms of accessibility, amenities, bus exchange etc. There is too much grey areas in what they are planning to do. The very fact that they select some stations and then change it and approve it hurridely is discomforting enough. If you notice they promise parking only at the depots around 4 stations.
silkboard's picture

landmark 'value' not priority #1

To me, these stations are only as good as their utility as exchange point between busses (BMTC) and trains (metro). Quick entry from one mode and exit into another - thats one thing that must be designed right.

The rest of the jazz can be and will be debated, but honestly, is a distraction right now as it makes us shift focus from utility aspects. If funding is a problem, jazz can be compromized, utility not. If there is spare money waiting to be spent, lets use that to buy/acquire more land around these stations to get get bus-hold and wait areas on both sides of stations, or to design catchment area and redo the bus routes.

kbsyed61's picture

Where is transparency and responsiveness?

The news of some stations designs were modified and approved without public given any insight or feedback avenue certainly doesn't abode good for future infrastructure projects. Looks like don't-care for public opinion is built into our systems and project executions. It doesn't matter whether it is 100percent govt project or ppp projects. Public good and their preference hardly matters. Hum nahin sudharenge....... like nawab of Najafgarh (We never improve) It will interesting to see the line for PIL's, RTI's and Open MG Road campaign. Unfortunately no foreign element to throw the rotten eggs and to worry about exit clauses.
narayan82's picture


certainly I would like to have a N Foster landmark. But with a 6000 crore budget, I would rather that more money be spent on extending routes than putting up landmarks. That to me is more vital to the city. What I think we should get from BMRCL is a few detailed images of the station, its facilities and what we can expect from it that will make easy of access worthwile and how it will be different from the sterotyped spit-marked corners! IMO (Again), keet the aesthetics simple, and we can build upon it as money comes in. Plain walls, can later make way for murals...etc. The basic straucture cen be built upon by pvt partners later on. But with the given situation in Bangalore we need a working metro, and we need it fast!
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
ssheragu's picture

High Tech Aesthetic Masterpieces as Metro Stations

ssheragu Hello Devesh & Ashwin and my Praja friends Subsequent to my letter to Mr. Sivasailam, MD, BMRC, I have received a response from him and is appended below. Dear Srinath, Kindly have a look at the final designs of the MG Road and Trinity circle stations on our website You appear to be mis-informed or alarmed by a newsreport. The cost of the proposed MG Road station and Trinity Circle station is not Rs 1cr or Rs 12 cr structure but a whopping Rs 45cr and Rs 35 cr structure respectively!! It is a huge investment by any standards and we are conscious of it. It will be state of the art with passenger facilities and amenities. Professionals from RITES who are designing the station and its facilities have strived hard to provide a design that is pleasing to the eye as a landmark in MG Road and Trinity circle. Be informed, that the station will have state of the art facilities including escalators for the general public with special facilities for persons with disabilities such as lifts from the road level to the station platform. These features are there in all the stations of Namma METRO. Be assured that we are striving to give our best and we have the dedication, capacity and capability to deliver. We value your comments and we wish to allay your apprehensions. N Sivasailam MD BMRCL Now we at Praja can take it up and do further what is to be done. Thanks Srinath Heragu
ashwin's picture

PWD Aesthetics

To give an immediate and visceral understanding of how much the design quality has degraded, I have pasted pictures of the original and the revised concepts for 3 stations in reach 1. The difference in aesthetic quality is obvious and jarring.

Ulsoor Station (original)

Ulsoor Station (original)

Ulsoor Station (revised)

Ulsoor Station (revised)


Trinity Circle Station (original)

Trinity Station (Original)


Trinity Circle Station (revised)

Trinity Circle Station (revised)


CMH Road Station (original)

CMH Road Station (Original)


CMH Road Station (revised)

CMH Road Station (revised)


For stations in other segments (Reach 2 etc) there were no designs published earlier so no comparison is possible, but the quality is in line with the revised concepts above. A PWD/Public Sector aesthetic that is a hangover from the 70's.

We may not be a China to afford Norman Foster, but all the above (original) concepts were by prominent local firms and are world class.

narayan82's picture

would like to find out more....

planning a station, and designing it is a time consuming process. What I would really find out is how much time did the architects spend in actually designing the older (proposed and better looking) stations? Did they actually create the plans and all the detailing or di dthye just create good looking buildings from the outside. No doubt I would love to have stations like the ones depecited earlier. But, when the design criteria was given to the Architects - wasnt the budget and constraints given to them? So did they design as per the budget 0 after all the 6000 crore budget has been around for a while. To Me the older stations seemed to be more of a PR campaign. Everybody inside new those stations were only castles in the air and it was just to get support for the Metro. I doubted these designs from Day 1 - these stations would have taken a very significant part of the budget. So the real argument I have with Metro is about dishonesty. If you can't afford a N Foster station, why not say so in the begining, so we can find a way round it?
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
santsub's picture

Metro Stations!

There is more to it than exploring why have they deviated from the original designs... Atleast in this case (Metro) we have a before (wow) and after (nmnnnn) designs to compare and question the concerned authorities who are developing our metro network - unlike in the case of our airport. I think when we send a letter to them or meet them in person we have to make a strong case and go with some handouts to compare designs so that we get the right answers. Personally I think Bangalore deserves great architectural stations like the old ones were. In-course of time even those who appose this will start admiring them because they will be a functional piece of art, accessible and sufficient that adds character to the city.
kbsyed61's picture

Don't go by looks, looks are deceptive !

As they say, ..don't go by looks, sometimes looks are deceptive... In order to understand the designs (old and new) and its utility better, it is important to know the details of its design in terms of what features are being offered. Is it possible that we can dig more info on these stations other than just design and tenders? BMRC website also doesn't offer much details. Any other source for this info? In the order of amenities it should offer, I would look for detailed info on: 1. Integration with other Public Transport Services 2. Connectivity options to these stations 3. Escalators, Staircase, Elevator facility Parking, Drop Off and Pick up facilities 4. Security 5. Availability of ticket counters, help-Desk 6. Rest Rooms 7. Decent waiting area/platform 8. Lighting and Air circulation 9. Light Snack/Tea eateries 10. Emergency Help, ATM, Telephone, Postal Kiosks In our next engagement with BMRC, we should obtain relevant info for the above list. Syed
narayan82's picture

This just keeps getting better!

I just noticed that the swanky older looking Station (CMH Road) was designed by RITES Architects. W.r.t the letter that Mr Srinath Heragu got from BMRCL, it was stated that "Professionals from RITES who are designing the station and its facilities have strived hard to provide a design that is pleasing to the eye as a landmark in MG Road and Trinity circle." So the architects havent changed, only the stations have. This I would like to find out - why?
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
idontspam's picture

Wasnt that my point...

...all along? Why show one thing and then do another? Why all the song and dance and then this hurried approval and quick tenders? What was the intent? Why no clarification on the change of mind? Dont we deserve to know? if the reason was cost, was it not known how much the fancy one would cost? Was it the management change, the new person thought the previous person went overboard? We will accept that too, just explain. Dirty looking station for CMH road? It could be their way of getting back at...
murali772's picture

can we ask to see scale models of stations?

While it will be terrible to have a PWD style METRO station particularly on MG road, can we atleast ensure that they have taken care of all the utility aspects? Why not ask them to display scale models of the stations, as also of say 50 M radius precincts, bringing out clearly all aspects of pedestrian and vehicular traffic movements, and such other details?

When I recently went to the Shantinagar TTMC, to help my niece catch a Volvo bus to BIAL, I came upon what I thought was a major short-coming in the design. The car parking is on the first-floor. After parking, to get down to the ground level, the only option available is to walk down the ramp, up which you just drove in. Even as we were walking down the ramp, with our bits of luggage, there was a couple walking up with little children on tow, carrying loads of Big Bazaar shopping bags in addition. Just about then, an SUV came roaring up the ramp, causing a bit of a squeeze in the narrow passage, obviously not designed for this mixed traffic, sending the children and the parents into a bit of a panic. All in all, situation cut out for a disaster waiting to happen.

PWD's (as also most government organisation's) idea of architecture is to build a flashy (not necessarily tasteful) facade. It's time the organisation itself is wound up.

Now, the old jail complex became the 'Freedom Park' (yet to be completed) following a fairly transparent ideas/ architectural competition. With that kind of a precedent set, I think we should now be demanding that all future developments relating to public places should go through a similar process.

Prem Chandavarkar, a leading architect of Bangalore, had some time back suggested that we should have something on the lines of what is envisaged at, in Bangalore also.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

Some videos

Some video + 3D depictions from an enthusiast on youtube


MG Road

idontspam's picture

First impressions

After a few days of using the stockholm metro (aka tunnelbana) the feedback is their architecture sucks, their stations use tiles on the walls and pillars worse than the ones we have in our bathrooms. Flooring is plain large grain mosaic (like the ones when our houses graduated from red oxide flooring). Some stations dont have escalators, some have only to go up but ALL have 1 elevator atleast. Guess what I dont stand there long enough to notice because I have never had to wait more than 5 mins for anytrain. max 8 to 10 mins for far reaching locations. I know exactly when a train arrives and it does exactly on time. Every station has buses just outside which have never failed to arrive on time. There is no station I cant get a bus outside. The passes are shared between buses and trains etc... in all one of the most effecient. Of the few metros I have used (London, Boston, Singapore, Stockholm) Singapore is on top followed by stockholm. Disclaimer - This does not indicate Bangalore have to build sick looking buildings in the name of functionality. We are better than these guys
Vasanth's picture

KR Road - 50 Trees Axed to give way to Metro

KR Road Near National College was full of trees many of which were as old as 300 years. 50 of them were axed this Friday. There was not much resistance like that of MG Road boulevard. They were not transplanted like MG Road boulevard. Metro is underground in this part, I donno why the trees were axed. These trees were giving shadow to the travellers of the road as well as was keeping the surrounding areas cool.
Naveen's picture

KR Rd - Metro is Elevated

Vasanth, On KR Rd, near Nat'l college, the Metro is elevated. It emerges out of the underground tunnel just past Shivshankar circle, when it starts ramping up. In way of station/s, all trees will be chopped down - probably because they interfere with the wider elevated decks that are required at stations. These trees were probably in way of KR Rd station. If not, BMRC must be questioned as to why they have been removed.
narayan82's picture

Trees vs Metro

I dont think Metro would go about chopping trees that didnt come in its way - why would it even remotely consider doing so? If a tree has to be felled because of the Metro - it is unavoidable. Metro is invetable. What we can do is plant trees elsewhere, make Green cover laws and convert more vacant land into green land. Its not that there isnt place - we just have to find place.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
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