The suburban railway network for Bengaluru is set to revolutionise commuting in the city. The biggest beneficiaries of the Budget announcement are the techies who commute to workplaces spread over the southern corridor (Mysuru, Hosur and Sarjapur Road), western parts (Tumukuru Road) and eastern parts (Old Madras Road).

City-based techies and daily commuters from towns like Channapattna, Ramanagar, Tumukuru, Devanahalli, Chikkaballapura, Kolar, KGF, Attibele and Hosur have held numerous protests through Rail beku (‘We want trains’) campaigns. Today’s announcement brings the curtains down on the Rail beku campaigns, with expectations high for early implementation.

A couple of months ago, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had visited the city, studying the present railway infrastructure, and indicated that the issues will be resolved at the earliest.

“So far, we have had heard announcements from Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. The Union Finance Ministry giving approval for the project is a big step,” said Sanjeev V Dyamannavar from the advocacy group Praja RAAG, which had been pushing for a suburban rail network for Bengaluru.

“The announcement is a positive step towards the realisation of a long-pending demand through our Rail beku campaign, and we expect early implantation,” he added.

The Karnataka government has also been trying to address the rail demand. After conducting a study of its own on the availability of rail infrastructure and the land required, it brought forth a proposal on Wednesday, which the State Cabinet cleared.

State-Centre SPV

Now following the agreement between the State government and Indian Railways, an SPV will be formed to raise resources to implement the project. When operational, each train is expected to have a capacity of 1,800-2,000 passengers.

Darpan Jain, Karnataka Commissioner for Industrial Development and Department of Industries and Commerce, said: “The Cabinet hasapproved equity infusion into the SPV for suburban rail projects worth ₹1,745 crore. This will enable the creation of rail infrastructure and new rolling stock to start 58 new trains or 116 new services.”