The city will get bigger with the government bringing under BBMP areas along the national highway to the Bengaluru International
Airport.

This is primarily to facilitate the High Speed Rail Link (HSRL), which is being taken up under the Mysore Tramway Act instead of the Railways Act. This is because the criteria demand that the project fall under an urban municipal body. If implemented under the Mysore Tramway Act, it will remain with the government and not the railways.

The government, in an order on February 28 issued to bring in certain modifications to the HSRL, has said: "Extend the BBMP area to cover Bengaluru International Airport area.'' According to BBMP commissioner S Subramanya, the inclusion has been mainly done keeping in view the HSRL. The Tramway Act, 1905, says the project can be taken up only on lands situated under an urban body, whereas now, the lands for the project are under suburban and rural areas.

Will the BBMP's coffers overflow with more properties coming under the tax net? "It might depend on the areas to be included. So, it would be unfair to comment now. But the inclusion has been made for administrative purpose, at least for now keeping development in mind,'' Subramanya explained.

The government will put out another notification listing out the areas coming under the BBMP. Also, it is essential to ensure that the areas don't overlap as the Bangalore International Airport Area Planning Authority (BIAAPA) is the local planning authority for the BIA and areas surrounding it.

The GO has given sanctions for cost-escalation of the HSRL project. While the initial cost was estimated at Rs 3,700 crore, it got revised to Rs 4,313 crore - the current cost excluding cost of government and BBMP lands. But the final completion cost would be Rs 5,767 crore.

The government has approved the acquisition of 65.96 hectares: BBMP land - 0.96 hectares; other government land - 12.2 hectares; NHAI Land - 8.61 hectares; other private land - 44.19 hectares; for which Rs 532 crore has been set aside. This is only to pay private landlords for NHAI lands as the government/BBMP lands are free.

To execute the project on PPP basis with necessary viability gap funding by the Centre, it will be Rs 1,047 crore - through SPV Bangalore Airport Rail Link Limited.

RIGHT TRACK
  • HSRL connects M G Road to BIA and traverses Cubbon Road, Chowdaiah Road, Ramana Maharshi Road, Bellary Road and corridor after Hebbal
  • Final cost estimated at Rs 5,767 crore
  • The 34-km rail link will cover distance from city to BIA in 25 minutes
  • HSRL will be integrated with Metro at Minsk Square; with Metro Phase II at Yelahanka and proposed mono-rail at Hebbal
Source: Times of India