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Need more land to enhance services: railways to state

Chiranjeevi Kulkarni, Bengaluru, DH News Service, Sep 13 2017, 3:01 IST

As chorus for the suburban rail has gained strength, the railways has once again reminded the state government that without insufficient land for maintenance lines at the Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna (KSR) station, enhancing the services is impossible.

In a letter written to the Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT) on August 10, Divisional Railway Manager R S Saxena noted that the KSR station was facing “severe limitations” due as rail infrastructure has made it impossible to introduce “any further services”.

Besides handling long-distance and suburban-like trains, the KSR station connects metro as well as KSRTC and BMTC bus stations. Without dedicated lines at the central nerve of the city, the suburban rail cannot function.

The railways planned to establish maintenance activities (pit lines and sicklines) at Binny Mill land area. “We are making maximum utilisation of KSR station. Shifting the maintanance lines is essential to clear the platforms. However, the land that was handed over to us (3.3 acres) is not enough,” Saxena said.

SWR officials said as the state did not hand over sufficient area of Binny Mill land, the railways had put the project on the back-burner.

“We need additional 6 acres and we are ready to buy the land. We just want the state government to facilitate the deal. Building additional rail infrastructure is not an option anymore,” a senior official added.

The land is still with Binny Mill owners and no construction activity is in process. “Delay (handing over the land) will only push the land cost higher. We want this transaction to happen at the earliest,” the official said.

Additional Chief Secretary in Urban Development Department, Mahendra Jain, who is also a nodal officer in the suburban rail project, said the issue was discussed in a meeting presided over by Chief Secretary. “We have informed them about the cost. The land in question doesn’t belong to the state government. It is a privately owned land. The state government will look into the issue,” he said.

Sanjeev Dyamannavar, one of the activists campaigning for suburban rail, said the railways has failed to come up with a comprehensive plan despite getting 3.3 acres years ago.

“The railways should come up with a masterplan which will include projects for optimum utilisation of existing infrastructure besides explaining how they will use the Binny Mill land. For example platform number 1 to 6 are not connected to Mysore line,” he said.

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