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Feasibility study underway to extend Bengaluru Metro to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, marking South India’s first inter-state Metro rail. Proposed corridor to span 20.5 km, connecting bustling industrial hub with Electronics City. Study to assess train options, ridership, and costs. Expected to improve cross-border commuting and regional growth.
Pbhattiprolu, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has taken a significant step towards establishing South India’s first inter-state Metro rail system. On August 1, 2023, CMRL announced a tender for a feasibility study to extend Bengaluru Metro to Hosur in Tamil Nadu. The proposed corridor will span a total of 20.5 km, with 11.7 km falling in Karnataka and the remaining 8.8 km in Tamil Nadu. Hosur, known for its industrial prominence with companies like Ashok Leyland, Titan, and TVS Motors, along with over 2,000 MSMEs, has long been advocating for better connectivity with Bengaluru. Congress leader and Krishnagiri MP A Chellakumar have been spearheading efforts for this extension.
Feasibility Study Scope
The feasibility study will play a crucial role in determining the viability and key factors associated with the project. It will explore various aspects such as the type of trains to be used (Normal Metro/Metrolite/Metro Neo), projected ridership, optimal alignment, station locations, and estimated construction costs. The study aims to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the project’s potential impact and economic benefits for both states.
Commuter Woes and Potential Solutions
Currently, thousands of people residing in the border areas commute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for work, primarily relying on overcrowded buses. While some experts argue that a suburban rail connecting Bengaluru and Hosur might be more suitable than a Metro rail designed primarily for intra-city commuting, the feasibility study will provide a well-informed solution. The civil work tender for the Bengaluru suburban rail’s Kanaka corridor is nearing finalization, and plans are underway to extend this corridor from Heelalige to Hosur, which could offer a more integrated approach to regional transportation.
Approval and Funding
The initiative to extend the Bengaluru Metro corridor to Hosur gained momentum with the Karnataka government’s approval of Tamil Nadu’s proposal for a feasibility study in May 2022. The Tamil Nadu government secured approval from the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and sanctioned Rs 75 lakh for the feasibility study in February 2023. However, the cost-sharing for the project construction remains a point of contention, with the Karnataka government asking Tamil Nadu to bear the cost of the feasibility study.
Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Company (K-RIDE), the executing agency for the Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project (BSRP), has also proposed expanding the network to nearby cities and towns, including the Heelalige-Hosur corridor. The agency seeks approval from the Union Ministry of Railways to conduct a pre-feasibility study for this expansion. Karnataka’s large & medium industries and infrastructure development minister, MB Patil, announced plans to extend the BSRP network under Phase 2, potentially adding further connectivity to the region.
Challenges with Hosur Airport
Despite efforts to improve connectivity, Hosur airport faces challenges in becoming operational for commercial flights. The concession agreement between the Union government and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) restricts the opening of any new or existing domestic airports within a 150-kilometer aerial distance from Bengaluru airport for 25 years, hindering the establishment of Thali airport near Hosur. The Tamil Nadu government’s proposal for a new airport in Hosur, backed by a feasibility study in September 2021, has faced hurdles in implementation.
The feasibility study to extend Bengaluru Metro to Hosur represents a significant step towards enhancing regional connectivity in South India. The proposed Metro rail corridor aims to facilitate smooth commuting between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and provide economic opportunities for both states. As CMRL evaluates the feasibility and potential benefits of this inter-state Metro project, it brings hope for improved transportation, economic growth, and enhanced livelihoods for the people of the region.
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