With the non-commencement of services, the entire infrastructure, including the station building and the staff quarters at Nelamangala are put to disuse.
Even one and a half years after the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) authorising the South Western Railway (SWR) to operate passenger trains between Bangalore and Nelamangala, the Railways is yet to commence the services.
The CRS, Southern Region, Bangalore, had issued the authorisation for the new line between Chikkabanavara and Nelamangala, a distance of about 14 km, on June 23, 2011. Chikkabanavara is a junction on the Bangalore-Tumkur railway line from where the new Bangalore-Hassan line branches out to move via Nelamangala, Kunigal etc.
The Railway Budget 2010-11 had announced introduction of a pair of passenger train service between Bangalore and Nelamangala. Even the timetable had been announced for the service giving Train Nos. 56579/580, which would use the rakes of Shimoga-Bangalore Passenger (Train Nos. 56227/228). The train was to depart Bangalore City at 11.40 am and reach Nelamangala at 12.40 am. In the return direction, it was to leave Nelamangala at 3 pm and reach Bangalore City at 4 pm.
With the non-commencement of services, the entire infrastructure, including the station building and the staff quarters at Nelamangala are put to disuse. The SWR had spent about Rs. 100 crore on constructing the new line between Chikkabanavara and Nelamangala and the station infrastructure on the Bangalore-Hassan new line section, according to sources in the SWR.
Decongestion of the road
Lokesh, a resident of Nelamangala, told The Hindu that though the proposed timetable was not suitable for office-goers, it would have made a beginning as far as train services were concerned. He said the Railways should also introduce passenger trains in the mornings and evenings since hundreds of people travel between Nelamangala and Bangalore.
According to K.N. Krishnaprasad, an enthusiast on train services, Nelamangala, located about 22 km away from Bangalore, is a fast developing satellite town. Passenger train services in the morning and evenings would definitely attract many people to get settled in Nelamangala even as the services would have benefited the existing travelers too. It would also have decongested the national highway of private vehicles, he added.
He said the railway station building and staff quarters at Nelamangala are deteriorating because of disuse even as anti-social elements and vandals are prowling over the fixtures of these buildings. The Railways should immediately commence train services to prevent wastage of public money, Mr. Krishnaprasad demanded.
Divisional Railway Manager, SWR, Bangalore, Anil Kumar Agarwal told The Hindu that SWR’s proposal to commence passenger train service between Bangalore and Nelamangala has been pending with the Railway Board for quite some time. The division is ready to operate the services at any time once the Board gives its approval, he said.
A source in the SWR meanwhile attributed the delay to political reasons. Perhaps some Minister intends to inaugurate the services and hence the delay, they said. Sources also said that the SWR had also sent another proposal for operation of passenger trains during morning and evening peak hours.
Another source however said the SWR General Manager was authorised to operate special trains and the zone had no hindrance to start passenger train services on the stretch.