Rs 18,600 Crore Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project: FM Reiterates Centre’s Commitment To 20% Equity And Sovereign Guarantee For 60% Debt


Reiterating Central Government’s commitment to contribute 20 per cent of the funds for the Bangalore suburban railway project, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday (Feb 17) clarified that the Rs 1 crore allocation made in the recently presented Union Budget for the 148-km suburban rail project for Bengaluru “was only a token provision” as part of “budgeting technicality”.

Addressing the media during the Jan Jan ka Budget meet in Bengaluru, the Union finance minister said that 0ut of the Rs 18,600 crore project cost, the Centre and Karnataka will share 20 per cent each, while 60 per cent of the project financing will come from various multilateral lending institutions for which the Centre will provide sovereign guarantee for the loan.

“There are no formalities left from our side. We are awaiting DPR project approvals from the railways ministry and we will release the allocated share,” the minister added.

The Minister further said that the proposal of allocation of 20 per cent funding from centre and state each was made only after the cabinet committee of economic affairs approved of the same.

Senior Finance Ministry officials, present at the press conference, said Karnataka’s suburban railway project was also being implemented in the same way as the Centre implements any other joint venture railway project with any State.

Rail Infrastructure Development Company ( Karnataka) Limited – K-RIDE, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up for the purpose of implementing the suburban railway project, will borrow from overseas institutions like ADB or JICA etc. Centre will provide sovereign guarantee for the loan and the special purpose vehicle (SPV) implementing the project has to repay the loan.

During the budget speech, Nirmala Sitharaman announced “The 148-km-long Bengaluru Suburban transport project, coming up at a cost of 18,600 crore, would have fares based on the Metro model. The Central Government would provide 20 per cent of equity and facilitate external assistance up to 60 per cent of the project cost.”

As per the latest detailed project report (DPR) prepared by the Railways, the suburban rail is expected to have a 148-km network with 57 stations. The project will have four corridors: Kengeri-Whitefield, KSR Bengaluru City-Rajanukunte, Nelamangala-Baiyappanahalli and Heelalige-Devenahalli.

The project has been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).