The proposal by South Western Railways (SWR) to divert the Yeshwantpur-Hosur Passenger train to another station in the city has many regular commuters concerned.
Among them are hundreds of techies travelling to various MNCs near Karmelaram and Hosur who dread the day the train is diverted and they may be forced to undertake arduous road travel.
Incidentally, the proposal comes at a time when the commuter rail plan has been given the go-ahead by the state government.
The SWR, which made the proposal about a month ago, believes diversion is inevitable. “Yeshwantpur is too congested. Trains often have to wait for 45 minutes because of the congestion,” said A K Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, SWR.
But Railway officials would not set a date to take a decision on the proposal. They were also not willing to comment on which would be the new starting point for the train. The train leaves Yeshwantpur at 6.30 am, reaches Karmelaram around 7.30 am and Hosur at 8.15 am, travelling via Lottegollahalli, Hebbal, Bellandur, Karmelaram, Heelalige Anekal and Hosur. At least 1,000 people use this train.
“By taking this train, I can reach my office in about an hour. Normally, it would take us over two hours to get to office by road,” said Nanjappa, a Wipro employee.
“I get to spend more time with my family. I am not exhausted when I get to work and my back problem, which would have been aggravated if I had to travel by road, is not really a problem anymore,” quips Ram Senthil, another Wipro employee.
Every morning, he, along with 25 other colleagues, catch the train at Lottegollahalli on their way to their office on Sarjapur Road. Along the way, they are joined by employees from CISCO, Eco Space, LG and other IT companies. “There are over a hundred techies who use the train in the morning and, in the evenings, this number is much higher,” said Senthil.
For many others, the availability of the train means they can keep their jobs as government school teachers. There are about 15-20 government school teachers who travel to Hosur and, from there to Kelamangalam, Soodavadi and Bedarapalli villages near Hosur.
“We are originally from Tamil Nadu, but settled in Bangalore. Our children go to schools in the city. If this train is diverted, there is no way I will be able to travel to my school, which is in another state (Tamil Nadu). I will have to quit teaching,” said K Jailakshmi, a teacher in Bedarapalli PUMS.
“I wake up at 4 am every day to prepare breakfast for my family and rush to take this train at 6.30 am. Thanks to this train, I can get to work in one hour. It would take me over four hours, otherwise,” said VRS Latha M, a teacher at Soodavadi Panchayathi Unit School, who has been travelling on the train since 2006.
Prof Nagaraj Rao of Alliance University is concerned about his job and the plight of about 25 students who travel on the train. “We have written to the SWR GM with over 290 signatures. Hopefully, they will reconsider the proposal,” he said.
Things may not be perfect on the train. There are no proper toilets, the train leaves early in the morning and often has to wait for about 30 minutes for the Howrah or Kannur Express to pass by. But those taking the train don’t mind it.
“It is a little early in the morning, but I have never missed this train. That’s how much I dread the alternative,” laughs Senthil.
“I can see my children daily. I have to travel to Heelalige every day for work. I live in Jalahalli. If I had to travel by road, I’d have to leave early in the morning and return home late - when do I see my kids?” asks V Lokesh, a production manager.
“The move to divert the train will indirectly result in increasing the traffic in the city,” believes Don Abraham, a domain consultant.