Two years have passed since the Union Railway budget sanctioned a passenger train service between Bangalore and Nelamangala. But for residents and regular commuters on this route, the dream of seeing trains operate on this line has not materialised.
Although the Commissioner of Railway Safety approved the track in April 2012, officials with South Western Railway (SWR) explained that a related file on the Bangalore-Nelamangala train is pending for clearance with the Railway Board in New Delhi.
But Sanjeev D, a transport expert, placed the blame squarely on SWR, accusing it of not making any effort to open the new line, even when the State government is sharing the cost of the Bangalore-Hassan railway line (of which the Bangalore-Nelamangala line is a part).
“The Bangalore-Tumkur railway line branches out at Chikkabanavara and becomes the Bangalore-Hassan line, passing through Nelamangala, Kunigal and other places,” he said.
“Platform and station facilities have already been created in Nelamangala. With no trains being operated, however, the station has fallen into disuse.”
“The opening of the line will go a long way in addressing the commuting needs of hundreds of passengers, especially office-goers, who depend on BMTC buses and other transport means to reach their destinations in the City,” he said.
“Many passengers feel that operating trains on the stretch will go a long way in providing smoother and faster connectivity.”
Public exasperation over the lack of progress on the line has been mounting and has even led to a complaint being filed with the Railway Board, an official said.
A senior official at SWR’s head office in Hubli said lack of political will was also to blame for the delay. At a meeting held in the Vidhana Soudha in March 2012, the then Union Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa had promised to open the line within a month. “Several months went by and there was no positive action. Now, the Railway Board is said to have cited the code of conduct for the Assembly polls as the reason for the delay,” he said.
“The Railway Board can give its nod for a quiet opening of the line, keeping in view the interests of the people. SWR has been spending large sums of money for the maintenance of the track and station at Nelamangala. This project should not be neglected,” he said.