NGO dusts off commuter rail idea

It is pushing for the oft-discussed transport system for the suburbs

Sanjeev Dyamannavar of Praja, an NGO which is advocating the nearly-forgotten proposal made way back in 1983 by the Indian Railways, says that during his recent consultations with the State government and railway officials in Bangalore, he found that they were evincing cautious interest in the proposal.

The rail system, says Dyamannavar, is a critical solution for the commuter problems in the burgeoning metro, since it envisages multiple modes of transport for easy commuting, connecting places that can be reached in around an hour’s time from the City centre.

With the help of Prof Sitaram of the Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning at the Indian Institute of Science, Praja has prepared a detailed report outlining the routes, distances and requirements. The proposal contemplates 35 new stations and an approximate distance of 370 km and improving accessibility to the existing stations.

On the basis of six proposed routes, the group divided the number of wards and the population the routes would serve. They also linked it to other modes of public transport to make it as seamless as possible.

New rail tracks

Dyamannavar says Praja has suggested new rail tracks to be laid on all the routes to avoid bottlenecks and the use of electric multiple units.

“Some tracks (already existing) are not being used to their full capacity by the Railways and other routes like Yelahanka to Chikkaballapur have only three trains running. But for most parts, augmentation, doubling and improvement of infrastructure are required to make this work,” he says.

The State government has evinced interest in the proposal and has written to the Railways to consider the proposal. However, it is a long way off.

Sources in the Railways say the prohibitive cost of implementing the project makes it suitable for a public-private-partnership venture, but approval might take time.

Routes proposed

* Yeshwantpur - Yelahanka - Devanahalli - Chikkaballapur
* Byappanahalli (Benninganahalli) - Jakkur - Yelahanka - Dodballapur
* Yeshwantpur - Byappanahalli (Benninganahalli) - Anekal - Hosur
* Tumkur/Nelamangala - Yeshwantpur - Byappanahalli (Benninganahalli)
* Yeshwantpur/Yelahanka - Byappanahalli (Benninganahalli) - Whitefield - Malur - Bangarpet
* Yelahanka - Yeshwantpur - NICE PRR/City - Kengeri - Ramanagara

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