BENGALURU: The two sharp spells of rain in Bengaluru this week have completely exposed the oft-repeated claims of Sir M Vesvesvaraiah railway terminal in Baiyappanahalli as a 'world-class one'. The 314 crore rupees terminal, India’s first air-conditioned one, had its subway connecting all platforms flooded and water seeping from the roof of the buildings in its campus including the one where the signalling panel is placed.
The world-class terminal readied by the Constructions Division of the South Western Railway Zone was ready two months ago and awaits inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is lying in an idle state now though the new stabling line is utilized to relieve a bit of congestion at KSR railway station and Bengaluru Cantonment by diverting trains from there for stabling here.
A senior railway source told The New Indian Express, “The subway that connects all the platforms from 1 to 7 were flooded with water, that reached up to the knee level. Water had seeped in through the top and reached the floor of the main terminal which is fully glassed and the station master building within the huge campus.” The ducts with electrical wires too had water posing as a huge safety risk for anyone, he added.
An official said that the worrying part was that the leakage had also happened in the room housing the control panel that takes care of the entire signalling operations.
“The rains on Wednesday and Friday were not heavy. Despite that so much damage has happened. If any malfunctioning happens to this Rs 40-crore signalling board, then it will have a major impact on safety of train operations itself, a serious issue,” he said.
The flaw is in the fact that a slope had not been provided above the station master’s building for rain to peter down as done in most buildings, another official explained.
“The rain has accumulated and seeped through the concrete to the floor below. It is shocking that a station whose cost had shot up from Rs 160 crore to Rs 314 crore and incorporated many passenger amenities has such a flaw in its design and construction,” another official said.
Asked for an explanation, an SWR constructions official attempted to play it down completely. “It is not a big issue. There is a gap between the constructions joint between two buildings. Water is seeping through the gap. We will be fixing the problem in a day,” he said.
However, another engineer said major strengthening or some changes need to be done across the roofing of the buildings could take a few weeks to set it right.
This is the second time that designing issues are affecting the station. When it was racing towards a June 2019 deadline, officials realized during the construction stage that the engineering design plan had miscalculated 70 metres which meant that a portion of the train would stop much beyond the platform.
The plan had to be scrapped, two phases of the station merged into one and the terminal finally readied by February 2021.