Heading out of KR Puram station: A daily battle

Heading out of KR Puram station: A daily battle

Hundreds of passengers alighting at the KR Puram railway station daily have a massive problem waiting just outside: An immense struggle with luggage through the chaotic underpass, underneath the cable-stayed bridge. They have no choice but to wage this battle before they cross over.

Already affected by the lack of adequate infrastructure at the railway station, the passengers would want to get away from all that chaos quickly. But the traffic mess outside offers them no such respite.    

One would expect the railway authorities and the BBMP to coordinate better to solve the commuters’ woes. But the two agencies blame each other, and are apparently in no mood to take the first step!

The erratic movement of passengers and vehicles at this intersection also affects other road users. Twenty-eight year-old Shameek, a resident of Kalyan Nagar with an IT job in Whitefield, is one of them affected by hour-long traffic jams here. Says Shameek, “Every day, I have to start at least two hours before my login time at office. The volume of traffic at the KR Puram station crossing is so heavy that many a time I am stranded for over half an hour to 45 minutes. I hardly find any traffic cop at this junction, which is so critical to travel to most IT/BT firms.”

T Sathyanarayan, a daily commuter between City Railway Station and Whitefield has this to say: “There are plenty of problems for commuters, whether they take the train or travel by road. On road, the biggest hindrance is the cable bridge due to which there is utter chaos from three sides on the road. Very often, heavy vehicles such as trucks and even BMTC and long distance buses get stuck right at the entrance of the cable bridge causing huge traffic queues.”

Passengers would have been relieved if at least the KR Puram station was planned properly. But, as Sathyanarayan complains, this is hardly the case. “Although the station has four platforms, at any given time, due to bad planning only two are used. Mostly, the long distance trains are given preference for clearance while the passenger trains are inordinately delayed. Many a time, several working people miss their connecting trains,” he says.

Invariably, they end up on the road. “How are we expected to reach our destinations as it is equally difficult by rail or by road. All it takes is better planning to sort this mess out.”
Incidentally, the station handles about 20 trains a day, thus adding to the chaos both inside and outside the station. Railway officials say they do want to expand the station. But lack of funding has hampered all efforts so far.

There have been suggestions in the past from all quarters to either expand the station or shift the station services to two nearby stations - Baiyapanahalli or Whitefield. Railway officials say that they are in a Catch 22 situation. Shifting the station is not an option as this is a crucial link for trains to Yelahanka. Expanding the existing platforms will allow for more stoppages of other trains and thus reduce traffic on the roads.

A senior railways official informs that land is available for expansion barely 100 metres behind the present reservation counter. A few shops have encroached upon the land. However, the authorities are in the process of getting the land vacated. But funding is another issue. Interestingly, this station did not find any mention in the Railway Budget.

Beyond the station, commuters have another problem to contend with. BMTC buses coming from Hebbal side do not have designated stops on this stretch. As a result, most passengers who do not have to go to Whitefield get down near the Foot Over Bridge on the Old Madras Road, causing long traffic jams on the entire stretch.

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