Home >News >India >Cabinet approves 14,788 crore Bengaluru metro link to connect airport

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday approved the construction of 58.19 km of Bangalore Metro Rail Project that will help improve connectivity to the airport and ease traffic congestion.

“The total completion cost of the project is 14,788.101 crore," the government said in a statement.

Briefing reporters after the cabinet meeting, India’s minister for railways, commerce and industry and consumer affairs, food and public distribution Piyush Goyal also said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved an exclusive subsidy policy for urea produced by Talcher Fertilizers Ltd.

The plant involving an investment of 13,277 crore is India’s first fertiliser project to use coal-gasification technology and is expected to help in reducing yearly urea imports to the tune of 12.7 lakh metric tonne.

The Bengaluru metro project, to be completed within 54 months, is spread over two phases—2A, connecting Central Silk Board junction to K.R. Puram, and 2B, that will connect K.R. Puram to Bengaluru airport via the Hebbal Junction.

“The project will streamline the urban transportation system in Bengaluru, which is stressed due to intensive developments, increase in the number of private vehicles and heavy construction in the city putting stress on travel infrastructure and industrial activities and to provide the people a safe, secure, reliable and comfortable public transport," the government said in another statement.

India is building a metro rail network in its cities. With 702 km, metro rail service is present in 18 cities and the plan is to take it to 25 cities by 2025 by expanding the network to 1700 km. The government has also allocated 23,500 crore for the projects related to Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) and metro services in the current financial year.

“In a landmark decision today, Union Cabinet gives its approval to Phases 2A (19.75 km & 13 stations) & 2B (38.44 km & 17 stations) of Bengaluru's Namma Metro at a cost of 14,788 cr," housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet.

Talcher Fertilizers Ltd is a joint venture between state run GAIL (India) Ltd, Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Limited and Coal India Ltd. Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd (FCIL) set up the Talcher unit in 1971. Given the problems faced by the unit, the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) declared FCIL a sick unit in 1992 and the government started work to close the company in 2002.

“Considering the strategic energy security and urea self-sufficiency of the country, looking into the country's vast coal reserves, it has been decided go ahead with Talcher Fertilizer Limited plant based on coal gasification technology. The project shall improve availability of fertilizer to farmers thereby boosting development of eastern region and will save transport subsidy for supply of urea in eastern part of the country," the government said in a statement.

This comes in the backdrop of ongoing farmer protests against the new farm laws. The government wants to step up urea production. India’s urea production capacity is expected to go up from the current 25 million tonnes to 34 million tonnes by 2021-22, according to government estimates.

“Coal gasification plants are strategically important as coal prices are non-volatile and coal is abundantly available. Talcher plant shall also reduce dependence on important Natural Gas for production of urea leading to reduction in LNG import bill," the statement added.

Reviving sick fertiliser units has been a policy priority of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government as it reduces import of the most commonly used fertiliser urea. The NDA government has been focusing on reviving stalled projects in eastern India such as the Assam gas cracker project inaugurated in 2016 and the revival of sick fertiliser units at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Sindri in Jharkhand, Barauni in Bihar and Talcher in Odisha.

The Union Cabinet also gave its ex-post facto approval for the amendments to the Finance Bill, 2021.

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