Calls for making the Bengaluru Cantonment Railway Station an integrated transport hub by building a station of the Namma Metro Phase II are only growing louder.
According to Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) - a citizen activist group, nearly all the commuters at the cantonment station who were surveyed on Wednesday opined that the metro station should be set up next to it.
The survey was carried out by more than 40 CfB volunteers and other local residents.
Moreover, the commuters were caught unaware about the location of the upcoming metro station and expressed surprise that such decisions are being taken without considering public opinion.
B Sreenath, a PhD student at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, who is a daily commuter to Karmela Ram station, said "I wish commuter feedback is taken seriously while designing the public transport system. We need to make public transport a pleasurable experience and seamless integration is key."
"Our interaction with hundreds of daily commuters of suburban trains clearly shows that they want Metro and train to be seamlessly connected. People are disappointed with the way things turned out at Majestic and Yeswantpur,” Srinivas Alavilli of CfB said.
“When there is an opportunity to build an integrated transit hub at Cantonment, it is baffling why BMRCL chose to shift the location 800m away from station where the locals do not want it. We demand BMRCL hold a public consultation as soon as possible," he added.
Activists and locals alike have voiced their opposition to construction of the Cantonment Metro Station for Phase II of the Namma Metro on a public ground (Madina Masjid grounds in Bamboo Bazaar) instead of on railway land near the station, as proposed originally.
Tara Krishnaswamy of CfB said, "One should not be surprised with the findings of this survey. When any new mode of transport is introduced in the city, people by default assume that they will be integrated. It is unfortunate that the agencies that design public transport systems do not seem to get this and it will cost us dearly if not corrected."
Even Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar has written to Union Urban Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and CM Siddaramaiah over the issue and met BMRCL MD Pradeep Kharola.
But the BMRCL has refused to budge stating that it will hold a presentation explaining how the change will not have a negative impact. Previously, the local MP PC Mohan had spoken in favour of the residents.
In its explanation, the BMRCL has maintained that the change of location was done keeping in mind that acquiring the BBMP land was easier than the railway land.
However, railway officials have previously told media that they do not have any problem to give land for the purpose of Namma Metro.