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‘Can an IIM or IIT verify if pre-conditions to Namma Metro project were met?’

HC is expecting a reply from State and Central governments, and the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL)

The High Court of Karnataka on Monday directed the State and Central governments, and the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) to inform whether they are ready to appoint Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) or Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to verify whether all the conditions imposed when the metro project was sanctioned were adhere to.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj issued the direction while observing that it is difficult to accept the report of an officer of the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The report had said that there was compliance of the conditions to implement Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) and Integrated Traffic Ratio Rationalisation Plan (ITRRP).

The report of the officer lacks detailed consideration about compliance of various pre-conditions imposed for the project, the bench observed.

Also, the bench made it clear that it would, during the next date of hearing, undertake the exercise of examining whether the CMP and the ITRRP were complied with if it doesn’t get replies on entrusting the task to IIMs or IITs by both the governments and the BMRCL.

The bench was hearing a PIL petition filed by D.T. Devare and the Bangalore Environment Trust claiming that authorities cannot continue metro project without implementing the CMP and the ITRRP as they were mandatory conditions imposed by the Centre in its sanction letters issued in 2006 and 2014.

While pointing out that the conditions were also part of Memorandum of Agreements signed in 2010 and 2017 for Phase I and Phase II of the project, the petitioners contended that absence of CMP and ITRRP, and frequent revision of plans for the city’s infrastructure, have resulted in inefficiency in implementation and utilisation of the metro project as desired ridership level has not been achieved besides achieving the anticipated reduction in road traffic congestion.

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