Heated Disagreements arouse as BMRCL insists on building Metro Station a Km away from Bangalore Cantt Railway Stn.

Protests over Cantonment Metro Station to be intensified, as Residents and Commuters oppose plan to build it under a playground. BBMP is unaware of company’s decision to acquire a playground to build the metro station

BANGALORE: Even as the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) is hell-bent on the new alignment at cantonment which takes the Metro station at least one km away from the railway station, citizens are not ready to give up their fight.

After reaching out to state and central ministers, including the Prime Minister’s Office, through a memorandum, campaigners and mobility experts are going online to press their demand. The latest is twitter campaign called `Tweetathon’.

Their demand for integrating the Metro station with the Cantonment railway station has found support from Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) and the Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC).

“What’s the need for changing the alignment when it was finalised after considering all technical and financial details way back in 2014? The new alignment would mean a major deviation from an almost-perfect integration with railway station,“ Rajkumar Dugar, a resident of Vasanthnagar, said. But Namma Metro authorities had a different reason for the change in plan. They cited difficulties in acquiring railway land although the Railways clarified soon after that it was willing to part with the land. The BMRCL, however, did not reverse its decision.

BMRCL managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola said the new alignment would pass through a dense area, helping more people besides reducing travel time and building cost.

Dugar and others dismissed these statements as “silly“ and “false“. “What’s the point in sav ing one minute of travel time if commuters are made to walk a kilometre to switch from Metro and other trains?“ Dugar asked. He termed BMRCL’s claim of the stations being only 250 metres apart as false.

Urban mobility expert Sanjeev Dyamannavar said the Cantonment railway station sees about 40,000 footfalls a day. “The old alignment would have been a best example of integration. Auto stands, bus stations and railway station are up and running. The Metro would have best suited this place. There is enough parking space and the Metro station would cover the road on all sides,“ he noted.

Dyamannavar point out the lack of integration at the Majestic and Yeshwanthpur railway stations with the Metro stations.

B.PAC managing trustee Revathy Ashok said the group reached out to the state government and the Railways to raise objections to the new alignment. “Bengaluru needs all modes of transport and all of them should be integrated with each other. There is no point in building a Metro station when there are enough opportunities to build it close to the railway station,“ she said.

A high court ruling, Srinivas Alavilli from the Citizens for Bengaluru said, makes it mandatory to hold public consultation before finalising the location of Metro stations. “It will be a waste of opportunity if the railway and Metro stations are not integrated even after spending over Rs 24,000 crore on the project,“ he said.

MP (Bengaluru Central) PC Mohan said he would meet BMRCL officials in person and raise objections to the new alignment. “I will definitely follow up with BMRCL and the departments concerned. It does not make sense to move the metro away from the railway station, which will surely become a hub for commuters once the sub-urban railway starts,” said P.C. Mohan, MP, Bengaluru Central.

Rajya Sabha member representing the State Rajeev Chandrasekhar also spoke against the proposed move. “BMRCL must explain this change in plan. If citizens prefer a metro halt at the Cantonment Railway Station, then BMRCL must heed their suggestion,” he said. He has written to Union Minister for Urban Development Narendra Singh Tomar stating that relocation must be cancelled in the interests of the long-term benefits for the city and its commuters. “The integration is critical because Indian Railways is planning a sub-urban commuter rail system that will provide an additional public transportation mode and capacity to the Bengaluru commuter,” the letter says.