• Karnataka may build new city to decongest Bengaluru

    Call it an over-ambitious or non-implementable project, the Karnataka government is thinking of developing a new city in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) to decongest Bengaluru. The plan is to relocate at least 20 lakh of the state capital’s population to the new city.

    Urban development minister R Roshan Baig told reporters on Tuesday that the city will be developed on 11,000 acres of abandoned mining land in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), around 100 km from Bengaluru. To meet the drinking water needs of the city, desalination plants will be set up and sea water from Mangaluru will be brought to KGF through Yettinahole project pipelines.

    This is on the lines of the Tamil Nadu government’s proposed desalination plants to cater to the drinking water requirements of Chennai city. The neighbouring state has proposed to set up Minjur desalination plant and Nammeli desalination plant at a cost of Rs 515 crore and Rs 871 crore respectively.

    Global tenders will be called for designing the city. It will be developed by launching a special purpose vehicle by roping in private investors. The cost will be known only after a detailed project report is prepared by a global agency, he added.

    Over the last 15 years, the Centre has been planning to revive a cluster of colonial-era gold mines as there were reports that deposits worth Rs 14,000 crore are left. The government’s move has come as a surprise for those within the government and also activists who have been fighting for its revival.

    Baig said the state decided to develop a new city after all efforts to revive the mines went in vain. He said the Centre has agreed to hand over the land and the assets of the Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML), a public enterprise that shut down in 2001. The BGML closed down as the gold ore reserves got exhausted after 150 years of continuous and heavy extraction.

    Speculations were rife earlier that there’s a possibility of KGF turning into Bengaluru’s next landfill. On January 31 last year, a daylong bandh was observed in KGF to protest any such possible moves. The Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC) had reportedly put forward the option of dumping Bengaluru’s trash near Marikuppam in Bangarpet taluk of Kolar district.

    Karnataka has also proposed four desalination plants at a cost of Rs 3,500 crore. These plants will be established in Udupi (Rs 735.30 crore), Mangaluru (Rs 2,533.61 crore), Saligrama (Rs 76.71 crore) and Kundapura ( Rs 154.42 crore) with the joint venture of Israel-based IDE and Vagas of Indian firm. This apart, six clusters, including Devenahalli, Doddaballapur, Harohalli, Dobbespet and Bidadi around Bengaluru will be developed as satellite towns.

    Baig said the work on Devanahalli is expected to be taken up soon by taking a loan of Rs 400 crore from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) though the estimated cost of developing the town would be Rs 2,800 crore. A proposal for developing the town will be placed before the Cabinet soon, he added. Hayes Pullard Womens Jersey

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