BENGALURU: It has been 17 years since large-scale encroachments took place on railway property around Yeswanthpur railway station. Bengaluru Railway Division is still trying to recover five-and-a-half acre of its land to create better infrastructure to facilitate running of more trains as well as create passenger amenities.
The political backing for slum dwellers is preventing Railways from evicting them.
According to data from the Land Acquisitions Department of Railways, an acre and 30 guntas at BK Nagar and two parcels of land at Sharif Nagar — an acre and 30 guntas and an acre and 38 guntas — have been encroached upon by slums as well as a few shops since 2002.
“If we are able to get hold of the parcels of land in Sharif Nagar, it can help us extend the yard in Yeswanthpur which will help in stabling more number of trains. This will facilitate running of more services from here,” said a top railway official.
Another land which was handed over to Metro has been encroached by a concern called RNS. “Enhancing parking facilities and extension of platforms are among other amenities that needs to be created,” the official added.
The Railways has been despatching a series of letters over the years to the Slum Development Board to rehabilitate the families occupying the space in authorised resettlement spaces since 2002. “Encroachments around Bengaluru Railway station involving one cluster of 103 slum houses and another 200 slums at Khoday’s Circle have been removed in the past apart from encroachments at Cantonment railway station and Baiyappanahalli,” he said.
The process of clearing slums that have encroached railway land is under way near Nayandahalli station with 40.465 sqmt cleared. “It would have been quicker if political leaders had not stopped it years ago. This space is vital for us to create infrastructure when the suburban rail comes to the city,” the official added.
The response from the state government has been much better during the last one year, another top official said. “However, the process is moving slowly,” he added. Officials at the Slum Development Board could not be reached for their response.