Namma Metro’s airport corridor (KR Puram-Hebbal-Kempegowda International Airport) work is progressing except at three places – off Jakkur plantation, Chikkajala, and near Yelahanka Air Force base – where work has come to a halt.
Explaining the reason, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) officials said they are planning new stations near Jakkur plantation and Chikkajala. BMRCL has been trying to resolve land acquisition issues on Ballari Road with the Air Force and NHAI for more than 1.5 years.
BMRCL officials said they received representation from residents as well as elected representatives for a new station at Chikkajala, which will come up between Bettahalasuru and Doddajala stations. “The state high-power committee has given in-principle nod for the proposal, but the government will have to give final approval,” said a BMRCL official.
On work being stopped near Jakkur plantation, an official said: “Two real estate firms Century Group and Bagmane Group have come forward to build a new station between Jakkur Cross and Yelahanka. While Century Group wants a station at Jakkur plantation, Bagmane prefers it around 500m away. But we will provide only one station and a decision will be taken in 15-20 days. Following this, it will be placed before the committee,” said a senior BMRCL official.
As for the delay in work at Yelahanka Air Force base, an official said: “NHAI has to sign an MoU with the defence ministry for the land, and it is likely to be completed in a few weeks. Once that is done, NHAI will sign an agreement with BMRCL to facilitate the work.”
On concerns that too many stations could slow down airport trains, a BMRCL official said: “There is massive development and real estate activity happening between Hebbal and the airport. More tech parks are also coming up along Ballari Road. A 5-10 minute delay won’t make a major difference in the travelling time of airport passengers. In Delhi, a dedicated airport express line was introduced for passengers but ridership wasn’t impressive. While BMRCL will get a significant amount for the proposed station near Jakkur plantation, the one at Chikkajala will help increase patronage.”
Commuter rail activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said: “Too many stations will increase dwell time and also trains have to decelerate to a lower speed for a smooth stop. Most cities have chosen a short Metro route to the airport, but it is a long one in Bengaluru. Airport passengers always prefer a fast mode of transport. BMRCL could skip some of the stations and run faster trains, especially early morning and late night, to benefit passengers.”
He said the proposed new stations shouldn’t affect the overall progress of work on the airport corridor. “In fact, BMRCL could provide a provision for these new stations and continue construction of piers and viaducts so that other work, including platforms and roofing work at stations, could be executed later,” he felt.
The average speed planned is 36kmph between KR Puram and Yelahanka and 60kmph between Yelahanka and the airport terminal.