Bangalore: Aproposed high-speed rail link aimed at shortening travel time between Bangalore’s city centre and the airport to as little as 25 minutes may be resurrected with Bangalore Metro Rail Corp. Ltd (BMRCL) set to take up the matter at its board meeting later this month.
BMRCL, which was given the mandate for the project in October, will issue a request for proposal (RFP) to five shortlisted business groups once the board approves the project and necessary clearances are obtained. An RFP contains details of a project and seeks proposals from potential bidders.
The five groups were shortlisted following a request for qualification (RFQ) in June 2010. An RFQ is a call for companies to outline their qualifications for executing a project.
Road congestion in Bangalore, the country’s information technology hub, forces travellers to spend up to two hours during peak hours to traverse the 35km distance from the city centre to the airport at Devanahalli. New Delhi is currently the only Indian city that has a high-speed rail link to the airport.
The five entities are Reliance Infrastructure Ltd and CSR Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock Co. Ltd; L&T Transco Pvt. Ltd; Italian Thai Development Public Co. Ltd and Soma Enterprise Ltd; Pioneer Infratech Pvt. Ltd and Siemens Project Ventures GmbH; and Lanco Infratech Ltd and OHL Concessionaires SL.
“We will take it before the board after doing the due diligence,” BMRCL managing director N. Sivasailam said. “There will be a board meeting in December and we will be ready with our views on the subject”.
Sivasailam also said BMRCL had received a positive response from Bangalore International Airport Ltd and would take the airport operator on board for the high-speed rail link project.
The project remained stalled because the state government had to modify the holding structure of Bangalore Airport Rail Link Ltd (BARL)—the special purpose vehicle to implement the project—to be eligible for viability gap funding of up to Rs 1,047 crore for the private-public-partnership project. The funding is offered to make economically essential projects commercially viable.
The Karnataka state government decided to hand over the mandate of the project to BMRCL, which is already a joint venture between the state and the Union government, which has a 25% stake in BMRCL.
First approved by the Karnataka government in 2007, the project proposed to design a 33km line between MG Road in central Bangalore to the international airport at Devanahalli outside the city limits. To be built at a cost of Rs 5,767 crore, trains would run at a maximum speed of 160km per hour and cover the distance in 25 minutes.