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Namma Metro 'closes' its doors

Last updated: 16 August, 2011
Chethan Kumar, Bangalore, Aug 16, DHNS:

The doors of the Namma Metro stations are now literally ''closed'' for the media.

The ‘Doors closed’ notice at the Metro station on MG Road.

The ‘Doors closed’ notice at the Metro station on MG Road.In another inexplicable move, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), which finally removed the notice barring press personnel from entering metro stations, has a new notice screaming from the locked glass doors: “Door Closed”.

Moreover, a security guard at the MG Road station pleaded: “Even yesterday the supervisor instructed us not to allow any media personnel. Please go away... You might endanger our jobs.”

Public scrutiny

Clearly, the attitude of the BMRCL leaves no doubt that they are trying hard to avoid public scrutiny. While readers continue to write to Deccan Herald seeking more oversight on the project, the newspaper is unable to do so, thanks to the cagey methods adopted by the BMRCL.

That the chief minister of the State, who holds considerable stake in the public projects, needs days before he could sort out a problem –– which for him is just a phone call away indicates the kind of stubbornness the BMRCL brass have.

Reacting to BMRCL’s attitude, M N Sreehari, Advisor to the Government for Traffic, Transport and Infrastructure, said: “This is in bad taste. It is a public project after all and all media houses must take up the matter. The government should take appropriate actions against people putting in place such an intransparent system.”

Other public projects being executed in the City or those completed by other agencies like the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) or the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have always been accessible to the media, despite the criticism.

BMTC Director (Technical) Paramesh said: “I have overseen several projects for more than a decade but haven’t had such a situation.”

The various TTMCs built by the BMTC have also come under considerable scrutiny, so have projects by the BWSSB, including the underground drainage system, but none of these bodies have prevented the media from exercising its duties.

The only possible explanation that the BMRCL could have for shutting the doors is a probable concern over security. But a senior official, on condition of anonymity, said: “I do not understand how the media entering the stations could prove to be so concerning. They could, at best, allow only those with appropriate ID cards.”

Speaking to Deccan Herald, BMRCL spokesperson, without answering questions, sought a written query, and this newspaper is awaiting the answers. And also, the chief minister’s action on the same.


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