Escalators at City, Yeshwantpur stations only by July-August

Escalators at City, Yeshwantpur stations only by July-August

Work on the escalators at the Bengaluru City and Yeshwantpur railway stations is going on at a slow pace and is now likely to be ready only by July-August.

The earlier deadline that the railways had announced was March-April 2016. Now, passengers have to wait longer for the escalator facility.

Senior railway officials tried to explain the delay as resulting from bureaucratic reasons. An official said: “Work doesn’t take off as soon as it is announced in the budget, but takes an additional four to six months if not more. Sometimes it may take even eight months to a year after the budget is announced. Many procedures have to be followed before the funds are released and before approval for the work comes in. This is the main reason for the delay in the commencement of the infrastructure work. This is not only true for the Railway Department, but other departments as well,  like infrastructure and mining. I hope the work will get over in another three to four months.”

Two escalators each will come up at the Bengaluru City and Yeshwantpur railway stations. The escalators at the City railway station will come up at platform 1 and platform 5 and the one at Yeshwantpur will come up at platform 5. Currently, the City railway station has made provision for electric vehicles (carts) for the elderly and disabled and the service is free of charge.

Each escalator unit is set to cost around Rs 45-50 lakh, while it was around Rs 35 lakh in 2013. The work on the escalators will not hamper passenger traffic as no major reworking on the platforms is being undertaken. Initially, it was thought that the escalators are needed to only go upwards but after a review, it was decided to have one to go down, too. The original plan was to go the same way as Delhi and Chennai, which have escalators only going up, a senior railway official said.

The four escalators got the go-ahead in the July 2009 railway budget when it was announced by the then railway minister Mamata Banerjee that escalators would be introduced all over the country in a phased manner.

For reasons best known to the Railway Board, it never took up the work and introduced tenders only in 2012-end. Even that took time and work was not on between 2013 and late 2014. Some discussion happened in 2015 and it was decided that the Railways would go ahead with the project. The new deadline had been given as March-April 2016, but now extended to July-August 2016.

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