Two deaths in a row, one Tuesday night and the other Wednesday morning, at the Whitefield Railway Station here appear to have finally prodded the authorities to heed the long-pending demand for a foot overbridge (FOB) on the station premises.
Thousands, both railway passengers as well as the public, cross the railway tracks adjacent to the station premises, between Kadugodi village and Kadugodi bus station, every day. Often they squeeze past between the wagons of stationary trains on the tracks exposing themselves to great danger, according to A.K. Misra, a resident of Kadugodi.
When the then Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa inaugurated the new Whitefield Railway Station building a couple of years ago, residents had impressed upon him on the need for an FOB. The Minister too had promised to consider their plea. Though a rail overbridge was constructed at the adjacent level crossing, it was not of any use as it was pedestrian unfriendly, the residents had said.
On Wednesday, as the track claimed a second death in as many days, hundreds of irate passengers and residents staged a protest on the station premises.
While a software engineer died on Wednesday morning crossing the track, on Tuesday night it was a medical student who met with tragedy.
The protest led the South Western Railway (SWR) to cancel some passenger trains, including Bangalore Cantonment-Bangarpet-Bangalore Cantonment DMU and the Bangalore City-Marikuppam-Bangalore City MEMU train. Senior SWR officials, including Sandeep Mehra, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore Division, visited the spot to pacify the agitating public.
SWR sources told The Hindu the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) should have funded the FOB construction. After waiting for long and taking into account the urgency of the situation, the SWR now has gone ahead with inviting tender for its construction at a cost of about Rs. 2 crore, a source said.
Work will commence within a month in anticipation of BBMP depositing the money towards the construction cost.
The bridge will be ready in six months and will connect the outer railway station with provisions for entry into station premises thereby discouraging people crossing the track, the source added.