Bangalore Metro, India
Bengaluru Metro (Pic for representative purpose)

Why Karnataka is opposing Bengaluru-Hosur Metro connectivity

Due to affordable land costs, growing industries, and a budget-friendly lifestyle in Hosur, officials fear Metro connectivity might lure away businesses from Bengaluru

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In a move aimed at safeguarding the interests of Karnataka's industrial and commercial sectors, the state government is displaying reluctance towards embracing the metro corridor project connecting Hosur and Bommasandra.

If realized, this project could potentially become the first interstate metro line in South India.

Priyank Kharge, the Karnataka Minister of Information Technology and Biotechnology, during an interview with The Indian Express, voiced his reservations regarding the proposed interstate metro link between Hosur in Tamil Nadu and Bommasandra, labelling it as "counterproductive."

Given factors such as affordable land prices, a rising influx of industries, and a cost-effective living environment in Hosur, situated a mere 25 km from Electronic City, the IT hub of Bengaluru, the authorities of the Karnataka government are apprehensive that the establishment of metro connectivity might incentivize micro and small-scale businesses as well as startups to relocate from Electronic City to Hosur.

This apprehension is driven by Hosur's favourable cost-related conditions in contrast to Bengaluru.

The current blueprint for the project outlines the connection between Bangalore City and Bommasandra.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) is actively progressing with the city's metro initiative, and the yellow line is anticipated to become operational by the end of the year.

Simultaneously, K-Ride has put forth a proposal to extend the Bangalore Sub Urban Rail Project to include Hosur.

Kharge went on to stress, "The cross-border metro rail project has the potential to adversely affect Karnataka's investment climate, putting our valuable resources at risk."

An unnamed government official hinted that this could potentially result in job losses within Karnataka's small-scale industries.

The proposed Bommasandra-Hosur Metro project spans a distance of about 20.5 km, with 11.7 km situated within Karnataka and 8.8 km within Tamil Nadu.

Hosur, inhabited by a population of approximately 500,000, hosts diverse industries including major corporations like Ashok Leyland, TVS, and Titan.

Situated around 90 km from Bengaluru, Hosur is also the location of Ola's expansive 500-acre future factory in Krishnagiri.

A number of pro-Kannada organizations within Karnataka are also in opposition to the cross-border metro rail project, asserting their willingness to vehemently challenge its implementation.

Vatal Nagaraj, an advocate for the Kannada cause, said, "Taking into account Hosur's historical background, it rightfully belongs within Karnataka's boundaries. We have previously organized demonstrations in front of its municipal council. I appeal to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to rethink the choice of expanding the metro project to encompass Hosur."

On the other hand, BV Gopal Reddy, the president of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI), dismissed any concerns regarding industries or startups relocating to Hosur due to metro connectivity.

He insisted, "Typically, investment opportunities are spurred by the incentives offered by the government. Additionally, we are actively promoting investments in tier 2 and tier 3 cities since Bengaluru has already reached a saturation point for investments, particularly in the Electronic City-Hosur vicinity.”

“There are various pros and cons associated with this proposal for an interstate metro. For instance, while Tamil Nadu's electricity charges are higher than Karnataka's, land rates are more economical,” he added

“However, the talent pool primarily resides in Bengaluru. On the whole, I believe that the metro connectivity won't deter investments in Bengaluru; rather, it will facilitate a labour exchange between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka," said Reddy.

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