Bengaluru: The Karnataka government is working on novel methods to raise funds for a 42-km Light Rail Transit System (LRTS) to de-congest traffic in Bengaluru.
These include exchange of developed lands for the lands required for the project as compensation, construction and exploitation of commercial spaces near important transport infrastructure projects and betterment tax and cess on approvals of new layouts.
The government has already committed almost Rs.40,000 crore to building the metro project, which, after Phase-II completion in 2020, would serve a maximum of 15% of Bengaluru’s population.
At the cabinet briefing to reporters in Bengaluru, law minister T.B. Jayachandra said that an in-principle approval for the new financing techniques was given on Wednesday.
One proposal includes using improved planning and engineering to ensure that a portion of the acquired land (around 25%) can be returned to the land owners as compensation as it would appreciated in value and also reducing the total burden of land acquisition for major projects.
The LRTS on the western crescent of the city will supplement Phase-I and Phase-II of the metro project.
According to the cabinet document, the appreciation in land value near the transport infrastructure project is high and it would make economic sense to acquire land which could later on be exploited for generating commercial revenue either by leasing of land or through Public Private Partnerships (PPP).
Heavy investments in metro has exhausted funding for the bus network which ferries around 40-45% of the city’s population.
According to Praja RAAG, an advocacy group for local issues, there is over 400 km of idle track around the city which can de-congest the entry points into the city. The cost of developing commuter rail is only around Rs.10 crore per km when compared to Rs.400 crore per km for the metro.