Whitefield track: Railways wants encroachments cleared

Four-lane Whitefield track: Railways wants encroachments cleared

Seeking to expedite the quadrupling of the railway line to Whitefield, the South Western Railway has written to the BBMP to remove the encroachments on the railway land along the Bengaluru Cantonment-Baiyappanahalli stretch, which will be covered in the first phase of the project.

The SWR’s construction wing hopes to complete the work on the 7-km line between Bengaluru Cantonment and Baiyappanahalli before March 2022. This will allow the optimum utilisation of the new Baiyappanahalli terminal, expected to open in three months. The quadrupling until Whitefield may take till December 2022 with the project cost pegged at Rs 493 crore. 

“The entire stretch between Bengaluru Cantonment and Whitefield passes mostly through dense residential areas.” “In some locations, though railway boundaries have been earmarked and the boundary stones are available, people have been using some stretches as roads,” SWR Chief Engineer Rajesh Kumar Singh stated in the letter to the BBMP. 

As per the data provided in the letter, a total of 4,532 square metres (1.1 acre) of railway land has been encroached upon at five places.

The total encroachment is spread over one kilometre along Bore Bank Road in Benson Town, Pottery Road, East Park area in Pulakeshi Nagar and Krishnappa Lane in ITC Colony. 

Unauthorised shops and other constructions have also come up on the railway land in some places. The BBMP needs to remove them at “your own cost”, the letter noted. 

Speaking to DH, Singh said the railways' construction at these locations started this week. “We need the cooperation of the BBMP in removing unauthorised structures,” he added. He clarified the railways was presently not demanding the clearance of encroachments until Whitefield and not objected to the use of the land for the public purpose either. Clearing encroachments has been sought only on the stretch where the work could not be done due to encroachments on the road, he added. 

For the line quadrupling, the railways has already built a retaining wall along the 1.5-km track from the military gate to the road underbridge near a temple.

 As the road width in congested areas will be reduced, new traffic diversions will be implemented on some stretches of the 7-km-long railway track.