BENGALURU: According to complaints from residents living in the railway quarters of Mahatma Gandhi Railway Colony, located near the back entry of the Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station, empty, dilapidated houses within their premises have emerged as hubs for illegal activities. General manager of South Western Railway, Ajay Kumar Singh, recently ordered immediate demolition of these structures. Parks will be built in those spaces, and will be open to the public.
There are 800 houses in these quarters. A total of 75 houses were demolished within three days following the GM’s orders. Speaking to The New Indian Express, Singh, who frequents the city often from the head office in Hubballi for inspections, said, “These are broken down, old houses. Such places are generally misused for illegal activities.”
A Railway Protection Force source conceded that regular drinking sessions and gambling took place there. “Since these homes were empty, the adult children of some railway employees themselves invited their friends over. Sometimes, strangers would just walk into these unlocked houses. At night, all sorts of people frequented these quarters. It was affecting the other families living here,” he said. Some families had also encroached these houses. However, top railway officials of the Bengaluru Railway Division refused to speak on the issue.
The GM also conducted an inspection of the parcel office, located at one end of Platform One on Saturday. “Broken down computer parts, waste paper, old records and lots of unused items were found. He ordered their immediate removal,” a source said. The top official was particularly upset, as all divisions of the SWR conduct regular Swachh Bharat campaigns to ensure cleanliness at stations.
The parcel office presently looks empty, as all waste material has been removed. “On Wednesday, they were brought to Platform Six, from where trolleys shifted them onto tempos to take them to the railway scrap office at Ashokapuram, “ he said.