Bengaluru steel flyover: Chuku buku beku campaign gathers steam

Chuku buku beku, beke beku, was the slogan raised from Cantonment railway station, through KR Puram and all the way to Whitefield.

Bengaluru: Cantonment to Whitefield can be covered in 30 minutes, Kengeri to Whitefield (45 minutes) and Byappanhalli to Cantonment (30 minutes). It might sound far fetched, but it is possible if Bengaluru gets its own commuter rail, claim the Citizens for Bengaluru group.

Chuku buku beku, beke beku (We want local trains) was the slogan raised from Cantonment railway station, through KR Puram and all the way to Whitefield. A heterogeneous crowd of students, senior citizens, IT employees, laborers, were seen together with one thing in common - their demand for commuter rail.

“If the government implements this, half a million people would be benefited. That would take so much traffic off the roads and there is no need to cut trees. It is a no-brainer,” said Prakash Belawadi, theatre personality and one of the faces in the forefront of this movement.

As hundreds boarded the train at 9 50 am, many others joined in from other stations. A platform full of people, holding banners, charts, pictures and pamphlets would greet the Bangarpet train, at every stop before hopping on. This campaign, chuku buku beku comes in succession to the group's previous ‘steel flyover beda’ (we don't want steel flyover) protest. While the steel flyover has been proposed to cut down traffic, by connecting Chalukya circle to Hebbal, these citizens hardly deem it necessary.

“If government starts some project, they take years and years. Costs build up and the public pays for it. Build a steel flyover? Okay, but can you do it in six months? I am trying to draw my attention to this aspect,” said Raghu Dixit, singer and songwriter. Sujith, one of the organiser said, “Rs 2,200 crore has been sanctioned for the flyover. Why not use Rs 500 crore or lesser, for commuter rail?.”

Close to 300 Mount Carmel College girls were seen taking a stand as well. “I live in Byappanhalli. I take the metro to MG road and then a bus to college, which takes 45 minutes. Once I tried the train and it took me 30 minutes,” said Akshaya, a 2nd year B Com student.

Currently a rail network of 180 kilometres and 40 stations is readily available, for the government to start commuter rail. “Chief Minister Siddaramiah must have a high power meet to discuss solely this issue, with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. They had four reviews meetings for the steel flyover and none for commuter rail,” said Srinivas Alavalli, one of the main organisers, who addressed the crowd at the last station, in Whitefield.

The activists said that, so far the state government officials have agreed to release Rs 300 crore to purchase new rakes for DEMU trains, for which the Railways has to give final approval.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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