Pressure mounts for Bangalore Suburban Rail – MPs/MLAs sign petition

Bangalore City (SBC): A petition signed by the city’s MPs and MLAs will soon be submitted to the Union Railway Ministry, urging them to give priority to the Bangalore suburb railway project. Although the project has been touted to decongest city roads, it is yet to get clearance, even though the railway ministry has already received the assessment and budget reports.

The petitioners claim that the project has been lagging due to several ‘procedural delays’, but traffic experts feel that a lack of co-ordination between the state and the centre is the real reason why the project hasn’t mate­rialised yet.

Rajeev Gowda, faculty from IIM-B, said that clearance will soon be sought from the centre and it’s only a matter of time before work on the project begins.

“Nevertheless we must continue to pressure the central government so that the project is implemented on a priority basis. Its going to decongest major parts of Bangalore once implemented,” Rajeev Gowda said.

At a time when multi-crore projects such the Metro and HRCL have been received favourably by the government, traffic experts feel slighted that little attention has been paid to this simple, effective project.

“In order to cope with the city’s growth, the government has invested a big amount on public transport. The B-TRAC project, and most recently, the Metro rail required an investment of 38,000 crores. Further, the BMTC added 3500 buses from 2006-07 until early 2011. But even with the Metro fully operational, Bangalore’s public transport requirements will continue to exceed the combined capacity of BMTC and Namma Metro,” said a traffic expert.

Meanwhile the Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT) is in the final stages of registering the Bangalore Suburb Railway Corporation Limited (BSRCL) and soon a nodal agency to integrate BMTC and other services with the suburb rail will be constituted.

Pranav Jha, Founder of Praja RAAG (Research and Analysis Group) said that the the suburb railways system can decongest the major vehicular traffic on Whitefield and Electronic City road once the project is implemented.

“There is no point in delaying the project. The state and centre should sit together and solve their issues,” he said.