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Suburban Railways, Transportation

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Commuter Rail

Branching off from the "raging" debates in previous posts as an objective break seems to be required.  State Planning Board has a wealth of documents especially dealing with master-planning. Or, action plans as they are called on their site.  Focussing on the transport action plan and posting relevant snippets below:

On page 9:  As Railways is on the Union List, the State can only play a minimal role in the development of the rail network in the State. The State has, however, been proactive in the last few years by becoming the pioneering State in the country to take up railway projects jointly with the Railway Ministry on a cost sharing basis, where the State is sharing 50-67% of the project cost.

On page 7:  Though Karnataka has been one of the pioneer states to initiate cost-sharing projects with the railways, rail density has remained low. An inter-state comparison of the rail route density shows that Karnataka has one of the lowest rail route density as well as broad gauge densities per 1000 sq km, lower than the national average of 19.26. The Indian Railways’ ambitious plan to raise Rs 1,00,000 crore in the Eleventh Plan, constituting 20% of the total outlay to develop rail infrastructure projects through public private partnerships has not taken off mainly due to the absence of a viable PPP policy. This is the main stumbling block faced by the State in initiating projects in spite of willing PPP partners.

Most people either don't know or have trouble understanding the ramifications.  Put simply, states are generally cash-strapped and depend on Central dole for a lot of items.  For states to focus on railways is simply not feasible.  Plus, multitude of layers / politics with Railway Board, Central Railway Ministers etc. almost assure that railways work in their own world.

On page 74:  A Transport Policy and Planning Unit (TPPU) has also been mandated by the Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan for Bangalore15. The National Urban Transport Policy (2006) has also highlighted the establishment of institutional mechanism for enhanced coordination in the planning and management of transport systems.
Currently, most of the infrastructure investment taking place tends to be incremental, short-term and modal-oriented and fails to achieve an integrated approach to solving long term problems. Another reason for the formation of such a unit is the fragmented approach to planning with several agencies such as state transport authorities (BMTC, KSRTC), BMRCL, DDTTUL, etc.involved in the transportation sector which leaves little scope for accountability. This lack of planning in addition to poor performance, deteriorating infrastructure, lack of governance and monitoring could be one of the causes for poor financial performance of some of the State Road Transport Undertakings16.
An integrated unit would help consolidate data and maximize public and private sector investment to meet the state’s transport needs, help in reduction of overburdened routes and increase the scope for inter-modal synchronization to ease burden on any one mode, help in reduction of road accidents and improve air quality levels.

Music to most praja ears.  Again, there are no dearth of reports.  The one above is pretty comprehensive and others like Vision 2020 are "fluffy".  Requires adoption / implementation by the state govt. and they have different priorities like giving themselves powers, various subsidies to weaker classes, farming loans etc.  Govt. has moved in the suburban rail direction off and on over the years and is trying to do so even now:

The Karnataka government is drawing up a Rs 2,100 crore project with loan assistance from Asian Development Bank, to develop and upgrade eight city clusters around Bangalore to woo investment and ease the load on the State capital.

The city clusters proposed to be developed are Nelamangala, Magadi, Anekal, Bidadi, Dabaspet, Harohalli, Devanahalli and Hoskote, Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake told reporters here.

Officials said the objective is to attract investment in those clusters by developing and upgrading them and "dispersing Bangalore investment" into these areas.

Meanwhile, they said detailed project report on Phase-I of the Rs 8,759-crore suburban rail system for Bangalore comprising five corridors, including from the city to Tumkur, Ramanagara and Bangarpet, would be completed "very soon".   [source]


On the suburban rail project for Bangalore, it is said the State government has proposed to the Centre that the cost be shared in 67:33 per cent cost ratio, with the latter contributing the larger amount.
The Centre, however, has not given its approval yet.
The project will be spread across 440 kilometres with five lines connecting Bangalore with Tumkur, Ramanagara, Bangarpet, etc. [source]

The best method to address transportation mess is to lobby (such a dirty word ;-)) with the government and at the same time indicate benefits to them like more votes, kickbacks etc.  Circular / suburban railways means interacting, fund-sharing with railways, may lead to lesser kickbacks as compared to 8 to 12 lane PRR that is under state govt. control, may get Central grants and more kickbacks. Some dept.s at certain periods manage to do some good for the people because of go-getting bureaucrats and/or ministers.  May the govt. always win and be happy; we the public should be satisfied that some people are happy with some good at some times. 



abidpqa's picture

Karnataka may have agreed for

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Karnataka may have agreed for cost sharing, but there is lack of sincerity in demanding rail projects.  There seems to be some sociological reasons for the state's resistance to ask for rail projects. There was a post in Praja where villagers asked for shifting rail line to Nelmangala (which I could not find now) because rail lines are bad influence on the youth or something.

silkboard's picture

well said

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liked this part, very practical:

The best method to address transportation mess is to lobby (such a dirty word ;-)) with the government and at the same time indicate benefits to them like more votes, kickbacks etc

Namma Railu team has been doing a good job on both, though the better word used around here for lobbying is 'advocacy'.

abidpqa's picture

There are not enough roads

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There are not enough roads crossing the rail. This is another problem with rail development in Karnataka. Between KR Puram railway station and Whitefield, It seems only one crossing is there, a distance of about 10 km. This keeps rail an obstacle in traffic movement. Between the above two places at least 5 to 10 crossing points are needed. This will make railway more integrated with other mode of transport.

Also as mentioned before, more road connectivity to stations is needed so that people can use railways for part of their journey. comment guidelines

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