Apartment residents give red signal to Cantonment metro

Apartment residents give red signal to Cantonment metro

Residents of Mangalya apartment complex in Benson Town have started a signature campaign to mobilise support to oppose the BMRCL's latest move to explore a possibility to build a metro line along the original alignment.

The move comes days after engineers of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) conducted a land survey for the 1,600 metre stretch of underground metro line between the two metro stations at Cantonment Railway Station and Pottery Town.

The BMRCL wants to acquire Mangalya Residences annexe, which will be demolished to make way for constructing a tunnel ventilation system.

The metro officials have not yet given details of the report, but the petition states that hundreds of houses will be demolished for the project. By Wednesday evening, 3,349 people had signed the petition.

According to the Detailed Project Report (DPR), the inter-station separation between Cantonment and Pottery Town underground station "is beyond 1.5 km as per the final alignment plan. Hence midsection ventilation shaft is required.

"We won't oppose if the metro line passes under the apartment. However, they want the apartment to make way for a shaft. Why should the project displace 59 families when the BMRCL has proposed an alternative route with minimal damage to existing buildings and zero displacements," asked Vinod S, Secretary of Mangalya Resident Welfare Association.

He said "the BMRCL officials have told them that the Benson Town and surrounding area have a rocky terrain and they may have to conduct controlled blasts for the purpose of tunnelling."

The association held a meeting with residents of the nearby apartments to discuss the metro project.

"People living in the surrounding apartments have expressed concern about the blasts threatening the safety of buildings. We will also start an online petition to gather support for our cause of zero displacements," he said.

Incidentally, the BMRCL had moved to conduct a survey along the original route after a sustained campaign by urban transport activists against its decision to shift the metro station to Madina Ground, about a kilometre away from the original location.

BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola had said the new alignment will reduce the distance between Cantonment and Pottery Town by 800 metres and save Rs 1,000 crore.
DH News Service
 

No demolition needed: activists

The activists, who campaigned for a metro station in front of Cantonment Railway Station, described the BMRCL's land survey as a move aimed at "creating fear psychosis yet again".

Rajkumar Dugar, who started an online petition against change of alignment, said the BMRCL need not demolish any building.

"Minor adjustments in station location will help the BMRCL avoid the 1.5 km distance between two stations. Even if the shaft is a necessity, they don't have to build it in the midpoint of the tunnel section between the two stations," he said.

According to the DPR, the BMRCL has to build a shaft to provide emergency exit when the length of the tunnel between stations is 1.5 km. The shaft ensures passengers do not have to walk beyond 750 metres if a train breaks down at the midpoint.

"The BMRCL doesn't need to demolish Mangalya apartment land for the shaft. They can choose a vacant land nearby with little changes. Even if the tunnel is 1.5 km, a shaft at 300 metres would effectively reduce the tunnel section to 1,200 metres. If a train breaks down in between, passengers will have to walk 600 metres to reach the exit point," he said.

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