BENGALURU: While the suburban rail allows commuters to travel from Majestic to Whitefield for just `10 in less than an hour, the station at Whitefield has been causing grief to passengers due to its inaccessibility. When TNIE visited the spot at regular intervals, a passenger train was seen blocking the path for commuters coming in from the south side, better known as the Kadugodi bus stop side. Many passengers, including women, children and the elderly, are forced to crawl under a parked train to reach their platform on the other side.
If one opts to walk around the parked train to get to the platform, treading the 3-km detour after dark is a challenge, especially for women. A week earlier, railway officials assured that action would be taken to avoid accidents, but when one train was moved, another took its place.When contacted, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Bangalore Railway Division, N S Sridharamurthy, told TNIE that commuters must avoid using the side where they have to crawl under trains, as it is not a ‘legitimate’ point of entry or exit to the platforms.
“The overhead bridge (from the Kadugodi side) is meant to connect both sides of the station, and not the platform,” he added.He also dismissed complaints of people coming from the Kadugodi side having to take a detour of 3-kilometres to enter through the north side of the station. Justifying the lack of planning gone into the station, he said that it is only in recent times that the city has grown on both sides of the station, bringing in an influx of people. “A foot overbridge will connect Kadugodi bus stop to the platforms soon,” he assured.
Local activist Sandeep Anirudhan recalled that before the foot overbridge was put in place, a railway crossing connected passengers to the platforms. “It was an open entry for passengers, but after a few accidents, walls were raised around the station. Now, even elderly people jump over the wall every day to reach their train.”
Though a movement to implement a stronger suburban rail network was initiated 10 years ago, Whitefield station has been ignored. “Not many people have pushed for upgrading the station, as it is only used by the lower middle-class of society. The station has also turned into a dumping yard for goods trains,” Sandeep added.He also said that in a meeting with the Divisional Railway Manager two weeks ago, assurance was given that the station would be made open from all sides.