Once bitten, BMRCL refuses to commit itself to another date
There was a quiet sense of resignation among Bangaloreans when Namma Metro failed to keep its promise to commence commercial operations on April 4.
Both the State Government and Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation limited (BMRCL) had indicated that the 7-km stretch on Reach 1 from Byappanahalli to M.G. Road would be thrown open on Ugadi. In fact, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Transport Minister R. Ashok and BMRCL Managing Director N. Sivasailam had said as much on previous occasions.
For many Bangaloreans, Namma Metro's failure to keep its date was disappointing. Venkatesh, an accountant who works in Indiranagar, said he had hoped take the metro to M.G. Road as an Ugadi gift. Radha, another commuter, was more patient, saying it is better if the BMRCL completes all work and then opens metro commercially.
The traffic police are not complaining either. They were all geared up to monitor what would have been an influx of passengers crossing M.G. Road.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Praven Sood said it is better from traffic point of view if all civil works relating to the six stations from Byappanahalli to M.G. Road (Anil Kumble Circle) is completed.
He expected a major traffic bottleneck with the incomplete footbridge from the Plaza station to the footpath on M.G. Road.
“Imagine a trainload of passengers arriving every few minutes on M.G. Road. How and where can these people be pushed and imagine stopping traffic every few minutes,” he remarked.
For Director-General and Inspector-General of Police S.T. Ramesh, security was a worry as details had to be finalised, though the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has been working on it.
BMRCL had hoped to get all approvals, including certification of safety by the Commissioner of Rail Safety, by April 4. BMRCL's Chief Public Relations Officer Yashvanth Chavan blamed the situation on the Union Government's alleged delay in notifying the rules.
The Urban Development Department published the rules governing operation of Namma Metro only on March 30.
Once this legal framework is cleared, only then can the Commissioner of Rail Safety conduct a safety check. All this is bound to take time, Mr. Chavan said.
He, however, refused to give another date for launching metro's commercial operations. BMRCL is now fully focussed to ensure that minimum facilities are available to the travelling public before that.