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Suburban rail: Kanaka Line set to clear alignment hurdle, get railway land

Bengaluru: After months of delay, the South Western Railway (SWR) is set to approve the alignment of theBengaluru Suburban Railway Project’s Corridor 4 and provide it with the necessary land withinthe next 10 days.

The twin breakthroughs will pave the way for the award of the civil contract and the start of groundwork on Corridor 4, well-placed sources said.

This was made possible by a reduction in railway land requirement from194.07 acres to 115.472 acres. The reduction was necessary because the railways needed landto quadruple the train tracks between Baiyappanahalli and Hosur (41 km). A stretch of Corridor 4 falls within this line.

“We have reduced the railway land requirement as per the revised guidelines after considering the quadrupling project. Our tracks will now be built a little away from the railway line. Consequently, we will need about 5 per cent more private land,” said a well-placed source inthe Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka), which is constructing the project.

The 149-km Bengaluru Suburban Railway Project is a joint venture of the state government and the railways, which provides the bulk of the land and has the final say in alignment approvals.

According to the official, save for “minor” adjustments,the SWR is “satisfied” with the revised land requirement. Itwill approve the alignment plan of Corridor 4 in about a week and transfer the land immediately thereafter. The whole process will be wrapped up by the end of this month, the official added.

The railways will provide the land at Re 1 per acre.

Another senior official in K-RIDE said the previous land requirement (194.07 acres) was higher because it was measured right up to the railway boundary. “We are now taking only what is necessary,” the official added.

Kusuma Hariprasad, Additional Divisional Railway Manager (Administration), Bengaluru, confirmed that K-RIDE had askedfor115 acresand said the requisition would be processed “on priority”.

“There are no issues. We need until the end ofthis month. The request will be processed at the (Bengaluru) division itself,” she toldDH.

The quadrupling of the Baiyappanahali-Hosur railway line will not affect the land transfer in any way, she added.

Another railway official said a pre-feasibility/Detailed Project Report to quadruple the Baiyappanahalli-Hosur line would be ready in a week.

The Kanaka Line, or Corridor 4, will connect Heealige in southern Bengaluru to Rajanukunte in thenorthern suburbs over 46.88 km. It will have 19 stations, including Carmelaram, Benniganahalli, Channasandra and Yelahanka.

K-RIDE called civil work tenders for Corridor 4 in January. Although L&T Ltd emerged as the lowest bidder in July, K-RIDE officials couldn’t award the contract because of two key uncertainties — the SWR neither approved the alignment nor handed over the required railway land.

K-RIDE has completed geotechnical investigations and other pre-construction works related to Corridor 4. Over 30% of the Signalling and Telecommunications (S&T) lines falling within the alignment have also been shifted, according to K-RIDE.

After receiving the alignment approval and railway land, K-RIDE is expected to award Corridor4’s civil work contract to L&T Ltd in January 2024. It will separately call station tenders.

Of the BSRP’s three other corridors, the groundwork has started on Corridor 2 (Mallige Line), while Corridors 1 and 3 will be tendered early next year.

The project’s new deadline is 2028.

The blueprint

Length:46.88 kmConnections:Heelalige-Rajanukunte via Carmelaram, Benniganahalli and YelahankaNo of stations:19Railway land requirement Earlier: 194.07 acresNow:115 acres(The acquisition of private and state govt land is in process.)

(Published 20 December 2023, 21:54 IST)

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