No Railway Station in sight for Whitefield employees

Whitefield (WFD), Bangalore: Vaidyanathan Narayanan, a techie from Ulsoor, takes the Metro to Byappanahalli where he boards a passenger train at 10.10am every day. He alights on the tracks behind Prestige Shantiniketan where the train makes an unauthorized stop and then walks for a kilometre to reach his office in Whitefield.

In the evening, he boards a 6pm passenger train from the same stop, reaches Byappanahalli by 6.10pm and boards the next train to reach home by 6.30pm. Narayanan is among the scores of people who make use of this informal arrangement of the railways to drop personnel working in a goods shed nearby. But the thousands who head to work to this part of the city aren’t as lucky as there are no trains that suit their timings. Incidentally, there is a goods shed station ahead of Prestige Shantiniketan but employees prefer this informal arrangement as it is closer to their workplace.

The goods shed station located a little ahead of KR Puram railway station has a single platform but it’s narrower than the footpaths on M G Road.

A silent protest has been brewing for over a year, with commuters seeking more trains between Ramanagaram and Whitefield and a proper railway station at this spot. But eight months after PC Mohan, MP (Bengaluru Central), allocated Rs 98 lakh under the MPLADS scheme towards the construction of the station, no work has begun. Whitefield techies had planned a protest on June 1 to pressure the MP and the railways for the station. But the plan has been called off due to lack of support from residents.

“We want action, otherwise there’s no point wasting time and energy in making a government agency do its duty,” said Vaidyanathan.

PC Mohan said the South Western Railway officials are now demanding another Rs 76 lakh to build the station. “The divisional railway officials told me it’ll take them two more months to figure out the possibility having a station. They assured me of a detailed project report. I am ready to pay the additional sum but I have noticed that the railways, in general, is very slow with its projects,” he said.

Sanjeev Dymannavar, commuter rail activist, said, “The zonal railway is least bothered about its service. It only thinks commuter trains are a loss-making business, hence don’t want to build the station.”