Bengaluru: The Namma Metro Round Table conference on 'Integration of Public Transport Systems' in the backdrop of Cantonment Metro controversy saw the participation of BJP and Congress politicians, four citizen groups and officials from BMTC and DULT, but not BMRCL.
Citizens for Bengaluru, Praaja RAAG, Bus Prayaneekara Vedike and Citizens' Action Forum organized the public consultation, but their invite was turned down by BMRCL, who instead issued a gag order on officials, refraining them from interacting with the media on Cantonment Metro.
Congress MP Rajeev Gowda speaking on the sidelines of the conference said, “I will try to convince BMRCL to shift back the Cantonment Metro alignment. As for the lack of public consultation, I feel engagement is a must. The government will not lose anything by doing it and only stands to gain."
Referring to the DPR being hidden and BMRCL’s boycott of the event, he said, “There are apprehensions about the tone of a public consultation. It needs to be cooperative and not metro-bashing. The DPR is not a state secret and can be released.”
BJP MP P.C. Mohan said, “DPRs are made in consultation with DMRC, but for Phase-2, BMRCL changed the alignment at will, including at KR Puram and Whitefield, apart from Cantonment. It is shocking.” He believes there is pressure from the state government, forcing the BMRCL to keep the Cantonment station at Bamboo Bazaar. “On Friday, I arranged for a meeting with the secretary of ministry of urban development, MP Ananth Kumar and BMRCL MD Pradeep Singh Kharola. If Metro needs help, I will call the Railway Board and arrange for an inspection. The DPR should be made public. I will ask MoUD to release it.”
BMTC Chairman Nagaraj Yadav said, “We are running buses at a loss of Rs 26 crore per month, because the people demands for it. The prices should be halved but we need support from central and state governments.” He pointed out that despite introduction of midi-Metro feeder buses with panic button, low floor, GPS, seats for physically challenged, etc, there are not many takers. “If people use it, we will give more. We don't need profits, but we cannot function under loss. Rs 15,000 crore is allotted for Metro, 5% of which can suffice as subsidy for BMTC,” he said.
Transport experts and citizens
Mr Sanjeev Dyamnavar, transport expert from Praaja RAAG said, “As per the National Urban Transport Policy, the BMTC, BMRCL and Railways must be monitored by one body. They can monitor the changeover of passengers from one mode to the other.”
IISc expert Ashish Verma also gave a presentation on the need for transport integration and a Unified Metropolitan Authority (UMTA) to oversee all departments. Several citizens voiced concerns of bus and Metro connectivity....