As metro work chokes Whitefield road, residents look at railways for rescue

As metro work chokes Whitefield road, residents look at railways for rescue

As work on metro cuts into the only main road connecting Whitefield, residents are seeing suburban trains as a way out and said traffic and pollution will be a major poll planks in the upcoming elections.

Members of Whitefield Rising, a group of active residents, met senior railway officials in the Bengaluru division seeking suburban trains. They submitted a memorandum to the divisional railway manager along with a copy of previous ones given over the last four years.

"There are no trains from 6 pm to 10 pm, the time when they are actually needed. We also need immediate relief as metro construction work has choked roads and increased air pollution. We can't wait for assurances anymore," Anjali Saini of Whitefield Rising told DH.

Railways has been citing lack of automatic signalling (IBS) as the reason for its inability to add more services.

"The project was approved by the state government in August 2016, but yet to be completed. Whitefield has 5 lakh registered voters who are frustrated because of the hardship faced during their daily commute. We hope the railway minister will take this up seriously," she said.

The memorandum lists halt at Goods Loading Terminal at Whitefield as another demand of high priority. Ramesh Gowda, a software engineer, said thousands of people working in tech parks at ITPL and Kadugodi will benefit from this.

"Even the existing services are unreliable. Yesterday (Thursday), the 10.30 am suburban train was cancelled at the last minute, forcing hundreds of us to take a bus," he said.
Shankar Sahoo, who stays near Brookefield, said the cascading effect of the metro work will be visible even in the non-peak hours.

"We had no lean-hours in Whitefield. But ever since the metro work started, one has to travel risking his safety and health. Vehicles take diversions and even small lanes are choked. Some residents are afraid of coming out," he said.

SWR chief public relations officer E Vijaya said they were considering the introduction of additional trains and a decision would be taken soon. "Yesterday, the train had to be cancelled at short notice because of the engine problem," she added.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited has set 2021 as a target for completing the 15.5 km metro line between Byappanahalli and Whitefield. Civil works are expected to be completed within the next two years.

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