Bengaluru: Vijay Goel happy with phase II of metro rail project

Bengaluru: Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Statistics and Implementation, Vijay Goel, who reviewed the progress of the Metro Rail’s Phase-2  in Bengaluru on Thursday, said he was satisfied with its progress despite the land acquisition problems. 

"I understand from BMRCL's presentation that their land acquisition problems have been taken care of by KIADB. They have also assured completion of Phase-2 by 2021. As much as Rs 500 crore is being spent per kilometer on the underground lines and over Rs 200 crores on the elevated corridors," he told reporters here. Although he did not clarify if the Centre would fund 10  per cent of the cost of building the airport Metro line, he said it would provide whatever assistance the state’s Metro project needed. “I have requested BMRCL  not to increase fares once the Phase-2 is commissioned because the Metro Rail is a public service," he added. Mr Goel, who also inspected the piped gas supply project in the city, said the target was to carry piped CNG or PNG as it is called, to 1.32 lakh homes in the next two years. 

" Infrastructure is in place to supply piped gas to 57,000 homes in the city, which will be done in one year. Smart meters, costing Rs 4000 each will be used in Bengaluru, as opposed to the meters costing Rs 1800 each in Delhi. The officials will not  need to come to the houses to get the readings, but will be able to track them through an app," a GAIL official explained.

 Besides the four CNG gas stations at Peenya, Beggars Colony, Sommanahalli and Hennur, the Minister said  14 more would be opened  in Bengaluru ,including one at the international airport. “ We are having problems  acquiring 12,000 sq. ft of land from the airport authorities,” he revealed, adding that obtaining permits from the NHAI was another hurdle.

Asked about induction of CNG buses in the BMTC, the GAIL officer said  CNG was used for BS VI buses and seemed to be financially viable. “We have to learn from other cities. If Bengaluru does not switch to CNG, it will face the same  pollution that Delhi and Mumbai are experiencing," he warned.

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