Bengaluru: The Karnataka state cabinet on Thursday approved a change in the metro route connecting East Bengaluru with the city’s airport at an additional cost 5,000 crore.

According to the state government, the metro route from Nagawara will now go through Hebbal and Jakkur covering approximately 9km more, taking the total length to 38km. The project cost has been revised from 5,950 crore to 10,584 crore, the government said after the cabinet meeting late on Thursday.

The change in the metro route shows how successive governments in the state have altered plans for already delayed projects. Such moves not only are costlier but also compound civic problems that remain unresolved.

The Bengaluru Metro has been one of the biggest focus areas of the Karnataka government despite its limited impact on city traffic and pollution. Unplanned approach to rapid urbanisation, constant metro and other road constructions has led to loss of green cover in Bengaluru, the erstwhile “garden city".

Activists allege that the government has been funding Bengaluru Metro by neglecting bus transport that caters to a significantly larger population.

Bengaluru, like other urban centres in India, has been fighting to keep up with its unplanned growth caused by mass migration of people from other parts of the state and country looking for better opportunities in big cities.

On Thursday, the Karnataka cabinet also approved the Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) report on suburban railways that would cost 23,093 crore. The suburban railway network will cater to 10 lakh people and is expected to be completed by 2025. The 161km-line would criss-cross the city in six different directions. According to the agreement, both centre and state would foot around 20% each of this project and the remaining would be raised through debt.

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