BENGALURU: Some 1,000 odd people, irrespective of their age, came out in protest against the state government’s apathy towards pushing for the suburban rail project on Saturday morning. Of these protesters, 200 were students of Mount Carmel College.
A majority of the protesters boarded the Bangalore-Bangarpet train at Cantonment Railway Station to Whitefield shouting slogans such as ‘Chuku buku beku’ and ‘steel flyover beda’. Among the prominent faces joining the campaign were singer Raghu Dixit, actor and activist Prakash Belawadi and RJ Shraddha.
At all the platforms, the protesters formed human chains and held placards demanding suburban rail and opposing the steel flyover. Despite the train being late by 45 minutes, the protesters patiently waited at the station. The train reached Cantonment at 10.30 am instead of at 9.45am and reached Whitefield by 11.30 am. As the train reached Whitefield, the slogans became louder. Whitefield Rising and KR Puram Rising joined the campaign at Whitefield. Personnel of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) were deployed at both the stations to manage the crowd.
The cry for suburban rail has been going on for years now. The project which saw some momentum initially, died down soon. There has been no substantial push for the project either by the state government, the Centre or the Railways.
‘People deparately want this’
Kritika from Mount Carmel College says, “The Cantonment Railway Station is close to our college and yet none of us are benefitting from that. We are tired of the relentless traffic chaos in the city. We want the authorities to provide better modes of public transport.”
Belawadi was pleasantly surprised to see such a turnout. “This shows that people desperately want a commuter rail in place. I am overwhelmed with the response. I hope the government will take the will of the people into consideration,” he said.
Voicing a similar opinion, Sanjeev V Dyamannavar, member of Praja, RAAG, a strong advocate of suburban rail, said, “The ground has been laid. We have the MEMU maintenance shed ready. We have two stations - Hoody and Krishnadevaraya halt stations - being improved by our MPs. There are a few services being made available at these areas and techies in and around Whitefield are making the best use of these services. Now, we just need a final push and the state government needs to take up the responsibility.”