The construction of the Cantonment Metro Station for the Phase II of the Namma Metro on a public ground is facing stiff opposition from residents of the area.
Locals at Bamboo Bazaar are opposing the construction of a metro station on the Madina Masjid grounds. Despite the opposition, the metro authorities are continuing with soil testing procedures, according to a report by Ashwini M Prasad for The New Indian Express.
“They should have at least consulted us. After all, it is we who use the service and not officials. They cannot decide on the alignment according to their whims and fancies,’’ Shakeel Ahmed a resident of Bharathinagar an adjoining locality, told TNIE.
The residents are opposed to the construction of a metro station on the ground as it serves as a venue for prayers during Ramzaan. Also, children of nearby areas use this ground for playing. Besides this, at least four schools located in the area use the ground for sports meets and other school functions.
The residents and representatives of the Masjid are now planning to launch a campaign asking the BMRCL to stick to its original plan.
Originally, the Metro Station was to come up near the Bengaluru Cantonment Railway Station acting as an integration point for the surface railway and the metro and help ease Bengaluru's traffic mess.
“While world-over, organisations are opting for integration, here we are doing the opposite,” Rajkumar Dugar, a Vasanthnagar resident told The Hindu. Dugar has also filed a memorandum with the BMRCL opposing the move.
Defending its position on its choice of location, the BMRCL has responded saying that the ground was chosen as it was to acquire land from the BBMP than the railways.
The Hindu report, however, added that the South Western Railways in a statement has said that land could be allotted for the purpose of setting up the metro station.
Earlier a report in the Times of India published on July 20 quoted a special land acquisition officer of the BMRCL who cited cost and other technical issues for not opting for the railway land. Interestingly, RK Saxena, divisional railway manager, of the South Western Railway division told ToI that it was never contacted formally for the land.
This episode of citizen activism against an infrastructural project in the city is not new.
Recently residents of many localities of Bengaluru have criticised the BBMP for setting up Indira Canteens at the cost of trees, playgrounds and heritage structures.
Indira Canteens, a pet project of the state government, was announced by CM Siddaramaiah during his budget speech in March. The CM had promised setting up 198 low-cost eateries like that of Amma canteens introduced by late J Jayalalithaa in the neighbouring state.