Choose rail over road: Activists to Karnataka government

Bengaluru: Citizen groups and activists, who are opposing six interconnected elevated corridors proposed in the recent budget by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, have urged South-Western Railway (SWR) authorities to free Bengaluru roads of traffic by adding more suburban trains, which are better than elevated corridors. 

They alleged that the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up to introduce suburban trains has slowed down. The activists are now launching a campaign, 'Rail Yatra', on August 31 against SWR and are discussing it on #ModaluTrainBeku (give us trains first) on social media. 

“Many people, including IT employees from Whitefield area, are part of the campaign and they are taking a day off from work that day to take part in the protest. We want to make it clear that the government should focus more on improving public transport than building these elevated corridors. We first want rail infrastructure to be upgraded, which will benefit lakhs of people. There has been no effort to develop railway stations at Bellandur, Carmelaram or Kengeri. The authorities should improve the suburban railway system to ease traffic on city’s roads,” said Tara Krishnaswamy, who is part of the campaign.   

Detailed project report to CS office
After the campaign, activists will conduct a survey of all railway stations in and around the city, and prepare a detailed report on the problems faced by travellers at these stations. The decision to prepare the report was taken after Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar, whom the activists met, suggested that the report will help the government address their concerns.

During a preliminary survey, they were shocked to see the condition of the stations. “Most of them have no proper infrastructure, including parking, lighting, toilets and platforms. They don’t have proper roads and access points. We were told that SWR higher-ups have not visited the stations for many years. We also received reports that many stations are infested with mosquitoes,” Ms Krishnaswamy added.

The final survey will be conducted at major railway stations in the city, and passengers will be asked to rate the stations on various parameters. 

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