BANGALORE, India—The city of Bangalore has been in the headlines recently over a series of cases of alleged corruption and illegal land acquisition, with officials in the state capital now trying to move forward with a plan to build a new metro rail line connecting the city to its east and south.
The metro line would connect Bangalore to its west and south, bypassing the existing rail line to the northeast, and would be part of a $2 billion package that the city has been negotiating with the state government to help speed up the city’s transition to a new economic model.
Bangalore is not alone in struggling to get the project off the ground.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Region Authority, a state government agency that oversees the region, has been battling to attract private investors to help finance the project.
In May, a report by a joint task force appointed by the state and the Indian government said the city would need a total of $3.8 billion in state funding by 2020 to complete the metro line.
The Metro project has attracted some controversy, with critics claiming it is an investment in the country of India that is only a step in the wrong direction, as it has not been built on an industrial site and the line would be largely used by private car traffic.
Some in the city have even been questioning the necessity of building a metro line at all.
“We don’t need any Metro line at the moment,” said Vinod Kumar, a prominent entrepreneur and member of the Bangala development team.
According to Kumar, the metro would help alleviate traffic congestion in the metropolitan area, since it would create a pedestrian walkway along the corridor.
He added that the proposed route is a “good way to connect with the north side of the city.”
“The project has been discussed for years and we are confident that the public will support it,” said Kumar, adding that the metro could also help reduce congestion in other parts of the metro area.
Kumar said the government has been actively seeking private investors since 2014 to help complete the project, and the state is committed to doing its part in the project if the private sector was willing.
Despite the public support for the project and the fact that the government is planning to fund the project with a series a public funds, the Metro project is facing a number of obstacles that could hamper its progress.
It has been years since the Bangalore Metro was completed and a large number of problems remain, such as a lack of funding for construction, construction delays, and safety issues.
For starters, a $1.9 billion Metro rail line linking Bangalore to the east and west would need an infrastructure loan of around $1 billion.
Other major issues facing the project include a lack, among other things, of enough land for the line, which is located in a densely populated part of the metropolitan region.
Another obstacle is the fact the city is still in the process of building up its industrial base, with the majority of the land for its metro project being privately owned.
Even though the metro is currently a part of an industrial park that is managed by the city government, it will likely be developed and expanded over the course of the project in the coming years.
Finally, the city may not have the funds for the necessary infrastructure, such a rail line, to move trains around the metro.
While the project has faced challenges from the start, the project could be one of the most important in the region as it will be the first of its kind in the world to link Bangalore to two major cities in the Indian state of Karnataka.
Follow @Kanthalabhai on Twitter and @BharatAadhaar on Instagram