Bangalore: Karnataka is celebrating the new year and it seemed a perfect time for the launch of the first phase of the Bangalore metro. However, the project has missed the deadline for the third time.
Work is still incomplete as staircases are without railings, construction debris is lying all around, ramps end in a steep drop and platforms continue to get finishing touches.
Bangalore Metro's Reach 1 was scheduled to be inaugurated on April 4 but now it is not happening. This will be the third deadline Bangalore Metro will pass over,
"It was not a deadline, only a target date. If you see any project once you start it should have a target date. That was there thinking this would be the time we can have all things in place though construction works are 95 to 99 per cent complete, certain things with respect to legal formalities have to be completed," says Bangalore Metro Chief Engineer BL Yashavanth Chavan.
Officials insist that it's clearances from the Commissioner of Rail Safety which is delayed and not the project. But experts say it'll take at least four months to even qualify to apply for fire and safety clearances.
If everything was on track and the original project schedule was met, all phases of this project would have been completed in 2011. The delay is also costing tax payers' money.
"Each day's dealy is costing the exchequer Rs 50 to 60 lakh. You can imagine another four months means about Rs 60 crore. We can say when the planning the cost was Rs 2,750 crore as on today and the way it's progressing it's 13,000 crore," says traffic engineering expert Prof MN Sreehari.
Trial runs for this stretch only started in December and though Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa had said he wanted to give this as a Ugadi gift to Bangaloreans, a train launched without passenger safety makes no sense.