Light Metro | Bengaluru’s Light Rail Transit project scrapped 10 years after proposal

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Bengaluru: A decade after it was first proposed, the state government has decided to scrap the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.

The proposed JP Nagar to Hebbal light rail corridor, a 31.3-km stretch on the outer ring road, could now become part of the Namma Metro Phase 3, which is currently on the drawing board.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ordered shelving the LRT project during a recent review meeting of infrastructure projects, according to a senior official in the Chief Minister’s Office.

“There is little difference between Metro rail and light rail. Also, the LRT does not fit the scheme of things because we want to have a standardised Metro rail network along the outer ring road,” the official told to Media, requesting anonymity.

While shedding the decade-old baggage, Siddaramaiah also ordered the Bangalore Airport Rail Link Ltd (BARL) — a special purpose vehicle that designed the LRT project — to wind up. The LRT project has been handed over to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation, a BARL official said.

The LRT figured in the 2007 Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan for Bengaluru. The project was formalised in 2010, when it was estimated to cost Rs 5,600 crore. The latest estimate stands at Rs 10,875 crore.

The JP Nagar-Hebbal light rail corridor was to pass through Bannerghatta Road, Kanakapura Road, Mysuru Road, eastern boundary of the Jnanabharathi campus, Dr Ambedkar Institute of Technology, Magadi Road, Peenya Industrial Area, BEL Circle and Lottegollahalli.

The project got a fresh lease of life when the chief minister announced it in his 2016-17 budget. Subsequently, the Cabinet approved innovative fundraising for the project.

Now, however, authorities say the LRT is out of place because Metro Phase 2A will connect Silk Board and KR Puram (with a possible extension till Hebbal) and Metro Phase 2B will connect Nagawara and the airport. “The LRT does not have the same gauge, signalling and locomotive as the Metro. Why should we have the LRT when we can connect Hebbal and JP Nagar on the outer ring road with a Metro? This is our thinking,” the official said.

Mobility expert Pawan Mulukutla hailed the decision to scrap the LRT project. “We haven’t seen any successful implementation of the LRT anywhere in India. Even the Mumbai Monorail is facing issues. Buses and Metro are the best transport options for Bengaluru,” he said.

Source: Deccan Herald

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