BENGALURU: When eight-year-old Abhinav from Vidyaranyapura wrote to the Prime Minister nearly two months ago, complaining about how it takes him 45 minutes daily to commute the 3-km distance to his school in Yeshwantpur, he made headlines all over the country.
The solution to his woes and that of thousands of Bengalureans using this stretch lies in the completion of the Road Over Bridge (ROB) project at Jalahalli. The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has not yet handed over a portion of the land to the Railways that is required to create access road for the flyover, thereby leaving the project incomplete.
Even Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had directed the BDA to speed up the land acquisition work when he visited the bridge during one of his city rounds in May.
“The project was started by the Railways towards the end of 2013 and was slated to be completed by March 2015. We have completed all of the work on the land we already possess. However, the construction of an approach road for the bridge, for which we require the BDA land, is yet to begin,” said a top railway official.
The Rs 28-crore project aims at closing down the manually-operated railway level crossing gate (LC 4 and 4B in official parlance), which causes a 15- to 20-minute wait for the public whenever a train crosses this stretch.
Trains heading to the north and eastern states pass through this route daily. “There is a train passing through this route every half-an-hour and one can only imagine the frustration the frequent closure of gates could cause to commuters,” said another railway official.
The crossing is located in the road connecting Bell Circle with Tumkur Road. The alternative to avoid the railway gate would be to take a longer route through Hebbal and Outer Ring Road, which would take over 15 minutes due to the traffic.
Some private shops are now on the land that BDA needs to acquire and hand over to the Railways. Conceding that BDA was yet to acquire the 1,250 square metres required to complete the project, a top official said, “Our land acquisition department has not yet acquired the land. Once that is done, we can give it to the Railways.” It could be acquired within a month, he added.
To ensure that the public are not affected when the work is being carried out, the Railways plans to create a temporary route parallel to the existing one by shifting the railway gate and staff nearby. “Defence has given its land to us temporarily. When the ROB is in place, we can permanently close the railway level crossing,” the official said.
Once the land becomes available, it will take three to four months to finish the work, another official added.