The Karnataka government is exploring the possibility of selling government-owned land along the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) to private entities in order to generate funds for the long-pending 74-km, eight-lane access-controlled road project.
The PRR project was proposed to alleviate traffic congestion in Bengaluru, but it has faced numerous obstacles including legal disputes over land acquisition and cost issues.
The road is designed to connect Tumakuru and Hosur roads via multiple routes, including Hessaraghatta Road, Doddaballapur Road, Ballari Road, Hennur Road, Old Madras Road, Hoskote Road and Sarjapur Road.
To advance the project, the government has initiated a land survey process around the PRR and within the city to identify potential parcels for sale.
Originally proposed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in 2007, the PRR project received state government approval in February 2022 for development under the public-private partnership design, build, finance, operate, and transfer model (PPP-DBFOT).
Over time, it has become a topic of heated debate among politicians discussing ways to improve mobility and upgrade road infrastructure in the city.
Land acquisition from farmers has been a major point of contention since the project’s approval.
Despite multiple global tenders floated by the BDA last year to move the project forward, no investors or concessionaires were interested due to controversies surrounding the land acquisition and the high costs involved.
After 16 years, the project remains stalled due to challenges in land acquisition under the Right to Fair Compensation Act. The government requires Rs 15,000 crore to acquire 2,680 acres of land.
The total land requirement for the project, which was initially estimated to be 733 hectares (1,811.28 acres), was later revised due to the change in the length of PRR from 65.5 km to 74 km.
The increase in length was due to the realignment and inclusion of cloverleaf structures to integrate Tumakuru Road and Hosur Road with NICE Road.
The project’s total cost is Rs 14,934 crore, out of which Rs 9,318 crore is required for land acquisition and rehabilitation purposes, while the construction cost is estimated to be around Rs 5,600 crore.
With the NICE Road covering half the loop, hindering the construction of the Metro line, the government is exploring options, including selling government land to private entities, to raise the necessary funds.
Legal considerations are being weighed, and discussions are ongoing on whether the land will be developed as layouts or townships before being sold to private firms, or sold as undeveloped land, reports The New Indian Express.
BDA officials stated that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has committed Rs 6,000 crore for the project, but this funding cannot be used for land acquisition.
Attempts to secure central government funding and partnership in 2016 were unsuccessful.
The government is contemplating issuing new tenders next month, with a meeting scheduled with officials to finalise the funding strategy.
The urgency for the PRR arises from congestion on the existing NICE Road and Outer Ring Road, with funding challenges for land acquisition persisting since 2007, necessitating the consideration of land sales as the primary solution.
Significance Of The Project
The project is very significant to Bengaluru city because it is expected to address serious traffic challenges.
According to local authorities and the state government, Bengaluru needs the PRR, given the massive geographical expansion of the city to the current spread of 2,196 sq/km and explosive growth of vehicular ownership (2019 estimate — over 80 lakh).
The ring road is also expected to provide massive economic benefits. Bengaluru has been attempting to complete several large ring road projects to improve its city-region connectivity and alleviate traffic congestion.