Residents and employees working in the two tech hubs of Bengaluru — Whitefield and Electronics City — who have been battling traffic woes, may soon be able to heave a sigh of relief. After having missed earlier deadlines, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is all set to start Namma Metro operations in these areas next year.
Under phase II, the network has been extended 15 km from Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield with 13 stations. In October, BMRCL started trial run between Whitefield and K.R. Puram.
The BMRCL had earlier announced several deadlines for the two important corridors: the extended Purple Line from Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield, and a new line from R.V. Road to Bommasandra which connects Electronics City.
Owing to various factors, including those beyond the control of the BMRCL, the deadlines were missed despite construction work having started in 2017-18. However, the recent trial run between Whitefield and K.R. Puram of the extended Purple Line, has provided a ray of hope for commuters.
Extended Purple Line
Anjum Parwez, Managing Director, BMRCL, told The Hindu that the extended Purple Line from Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield will be opened in two phases. In the first phase, K.R. Puram to Whitefield line will be functional by mid-March of 2023.
K.R. Puram to Baiyappanahalli stretch will be operational at a later stage. Feeder service buses will be operated on this stretch.
“The trial runs and related work in the stretch between K.R. Puram and Whitefield are going on as planned. We will deploy five sets of trains there. By June or July of 2023, the entire Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield line will be operational.”
There are 12 metro stations between K.R.Puram and Whitefield and one station between K.R. Puram and Baiyappanahalli.
Steel girder over railway line
The construction of a 65-metre open-web steel girder over a railway track at Benniganahalli has remained a major hurdle for opening the line between Baiyappanahalli and K.R. Puram. Mr. Parwez said the BMRCL is in talks with the South Western Railway (SWR).
“We have already started preliminary work. The SWR will communicate to us about feasible time as line block is required, and accordingly work will be carried out. Once the entire structure is ready, deck slabs will be laid for tracks,” he said.
Citizens are keeping their fingers crossed. Pavan Kumar, who commutes daily between Ulsoor and ITPB, said, “Years ago, when the metro construction started, everyone hoped that commuting issues would finally get addressed, but that never happened. For years, motorists spent hours to reach their workplaces. After the pandemic, when my company asked us to go back to office, I started worrying about traffic snarls in the Tin Factory area and beyond that. Recently, I read in the news that BMRCL has started the trial run. I hope they stick to the deadline and open the line for public use.”
Another commuter Darshan Yadav said, “Usually, I go to work around 8 a.m. Being a diabetic, I feel like I’m losing all the energy by the time I reach the workplace. Traffic snarls on Old Madras Road, and then K.R. Puram bridge and Whitefield Road test one patience’s on a daily basis. Opening of the metro line will make life easier for people.”
Metro to Electronics City
The 19 km new metro line under phase II is a crucial corridor. This Yellow Line starts from the operational R.V. Road station and goes via Jayadeva, Central Silk Board and Electronics City, and reaches Bommasandra. The DPR prepared in 2011 states that the line would benefit people living in areas such as Jayanagar, BTM Layout, and HSR Layout, those working in Electronics City and Bommasandra Industrial Area.
As per the revised deadline, the BMRCL hopes to open the line by mid-2023. However, there are many challenges. Construction of a multi-level interchange metro station at Jayadeva, construction of a metro station at Central Silk Board with loops are some of the major tasks for the BMRCL.
The Jayadeva interchange metro station is a complex project as two metro lines intersect at the point: R.V Road to Bommasandra, and Kalena Agrahara to Nagawara. The BMRCL had demolished Jayadeva flyover to construct the new station.
Mr. Parwez said, “We plan to open the entire R.V. Road to Bommasandra (18 km) line in one go. If we open in phases, connectivity will be an issue This will benefit commuters and is economically feasible for the BMRCL. The starting point of this new line is R.V. Road; this interchange station is connected from Majestic side and Silk Institute side.”
The official said that a flyover between Ragigudda and Central Silk Board will be operational after commissioning of the metro.
Lakhs to benefit
“In the Whitefield corridor, 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh people are likely to take the metro in the initial years, and over 2.5 lakh would travel on the new line connecting Bommasandra. These two corridors will help the metro cross daily ridership over 10 lakh,” the official said.
Lt.Col. Ravindra Singh, CEO of Electronics City Industrial Township Authority (ELCITA) said, “Opening of the metro line to Electronics City will be a game changer. It will help decongest traffic at Central Silk Board. We too are looking forward to commercial operations of Namma Metro as ELCITA has various plans on providing various last mile connectivity for the benefit of people working here. Our basic objective is how to go greener in terms of transportation system. We are working on Metro Neo, shuttle buses, e-scooters and cycles to provide last mile connectivity. In Electronics City, around two lakh people are working.”
Bommasandra to Hosur
The Tamil Nadu government, meanwhile, has sanctioned money for carrying out a feasibility study on extending the metro from Bommasandra to Hosur.