Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa
BENGALURU: With chief minister BS Yediyurappa likely to visit Delhi soon, activists have urged him to secure the Centre’s approval for two major infrastructure projects in the tech capital — the Outer Ring Road-Kempegowda International Airport Metro corridor and the 148-km suburban rail project.
While BMRCL has floated tenders for ORR (Silk Board-KR Puram)-KIA Metro line, they have not been finalised because of pending central clearance. Similarly, an announcement for the suburban rail project, which has been stuck for 37 years, was made in the 2018-19 Union budget, but the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs is yet to okay it. Activists say these projects have not taken off despite BJP heading the governments at the Centre and in state; Yediyurappa should put pressure to get them on track. In contrast, they add, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis got approvals for mega infrastructure projects, including Metro, in multiple cities without delay.
“The Bengaluru projects are stuck in bureaucratic wrangles in Delhi. The chief minister should take a contingent of both Metro and suburban rail officials to the national capital and meet the departments concerned and get these projects cleared,” said urban mobility expert RK Misra.
A senior government official explained the problem. “When officials take files of big projects to Delhi, they often get vague responses. If a CM does it, they will be forced to clear them. He should insist that he won’t return to Bengaluru unless these proposals are cleared,” the official said.
Tara Krishnaswamy, cofounder of Citizens for Bengaluru, said the city deserved better. “Karnataka and Bengaluru are among the highest tax-paying states and cities in the country, and it’s unfortunate that our suburban and Metro projects are still stuck,” she said.
KN Krishna Prasad of NGO Karnataka Railway Vedike also lamented the lack of progress. “Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, Union minister of state for railways Suresh Angadi and other MPs have not made honest efforts to make these projects a reality,” Prasad said.