Come what may, Namma Metro seems determined to meet its April deadline of finishing the whole of 42-km-long Phase I and opening it to commuters. The 12-km stretch between Sampige Road and Yelachenahalli is yet to be opened for commercial operations.
Currently, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) is doing trial runs along the 8-km-long elevated corridor between National College and Yelachenahalli. The big question, however, is whether trials will begin on the underground stretch between Sampige Road and National College. From the ground-level, it seems unlikely. Workers can still be seen struggling to complete works.
Chickpet station is one of the three underground stations yet to be made functional. Although the BMRCL claims all civil works are complete, even from the outside it is obvious that construction is yet to wind up. Huge machines have been deployed for the task of completing pending works that include clearing of debris, moving materials and such. BMRCL managing director said traction and signalling works should be complete in a week. Being an underground stretch, it needs to provide ventilation and create AC ducts, etc, besides infrastructure such as escalators and lifts.
BMRCL MD Pradeep Singh Kharola told media: “We are going to meet the April deadline at any cost. There should not be any doubt on that. We are doing all pending works on war-footing in the underground stations. The trial run on the underground stretch will start by next week. We are committed to start commercial operations in the month of April.”
He said all major works had been completed, and works like traction, cabling and others were on going on.
Carrying out trial run at ‘half-done’ underground stations is not new to BMRCL. In its east-west corridor, it conducted trial runs between Cricket stadium and Magadi Road even before installing elevators, lifts, ventilation and other things. Even at the Majestic intersection, it partially opened the station to public while works continued.
South Bengalureans have been waiting for years for the Metro. Though the elevated stretch between National College and Yelachenhalli was completed in 2012-13, the BMRCL could not start operations as it miserably failed to execute Metro tunnel works during this time. Two of the tunnel boring machines, Krishna and Kaveri, struggled to complete the task due to tough terrain, breakdowns and other reasons.
Kaveri achieved breakthrough in June and Krishna completed the task in September last year. On the other hand, Godavari, which was tunnelling between Sampige Road and Majestic, broke down and remained underground for one and half years. After repairs, it had finally finished in April 2016. In addition to these delays, the BMRCL also took years to complete Majestic intersection project. This project, worth Rs 500 crore, got delayed for various reasons including issuing tenders, and changes in the plan. The majestic intersection was partially opened in April 2016, when the east-west corridor was made operational.
In November, the BMRCL started trial runs on the elevated corridor between National College and Yelachenahalli.
A BMRCL official said: “The trial run on the elevated corridor is going on and it will continue for one more month. After this, we will also continue a trial along the underground stretch of Sampige Road – Majestic – Chickpet and KR Market stations. Trial runs on the underground stretch may take three months.” The official said that personnel from the fire and emergency services will inspect the stations on this reach.
Credits Bangalore Mirror