Commuter rail campaign gets a hunger strike boost

Last Updated 07 February 2016, 19:57 IST

Intensifying the City’s collective demand for a full-fledged suburban train system, members of the Bengaluru Sub Urban Train Passengers’ Association converged for a hunger strike near the Whitefield railway station here on Sunday.

In solidarity with the travellers’ forum, long-time commuter rail campaigners participated in the day-long strike. It was a clear indication that the movement was gathering in strength and purpose, just weeks before the railway

Sunday’s strike was an outpouring of passengers’ woes. “Having seen the road traffic, we travel from our homes to various parts of Bengaluru for work using the trains. But the trains are not sufficient and remain overcrowded and choked,” said the Association’s memorandum to the chief minister, railway minister and the divisional railway manager, South Western Railway.

The message to the officials was clear: Introduce regular suburban trains as recommended in the RITES report. Trains are the only option to decongest the City and ease commuter comfort since the existing public transport systems are grossly inadequate.

But embedded in the memorandum was also a warning that Sunday’s strike would be further intensified if the government continued with its inaction. The memorandum was formally submitted to the Whitefield station manager, who promised to forward it to the higher railway officials.

In Multiple routes
Urban rail experts and campaigners have been vociferous in their demands to get the service launched in multiple routes leading to the City centre. Dedicated trains between the City and its suburbs at short intervals had to be part of the system since regular commuters could not depend on the long-distance trains.

The infrastructure at the stations and terminals had to be upgraded, a task that can be accomplished only with multi-agency funding and participation. Last week’s remark by the railway minister have kindled hopes that the project might finally be included in the upcoming railway budget.
DH News Service

(Published 07 February 2016, 19:57 IST)

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