Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) will adhere to its decision to build the underground Cantonment metro station — on the Red Line of Phase II of Namma Metro — at Bamboo Bazar playground, around 300 to 400 metres away from Cantonment Railway Station. The decision was made following a survey by the corporation in the face of a public backlash.
BMRCL Managing Director Mahendra Jain told that reversing to the original alignment (building an underground station at Cantonment) would delay both the metro project between Nagawara and Gottigere by over a year and its subsequent extension to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA).
“Building the station at Cantonment is not technically, logistically and financially feasible. Changing any plan at this juncture will have an adverse impact,” he said. The State government has already given approval for extension of the metro line from Nagawara to KIA. “Without completing the Nagawara to Gottigere line, the metro cannot be linked to the airport,” he said.
Controversy has dogged the Cantonment metro station and its location for many months.
Several citizens’ groups have opposed building of the station under a playground while others argued that the distance between the railway and metro stations is not commuter-friendly. They alleged that the decision was taken without public consultation.
At the same time, residents of Benson Town carried out a massive online campaign demanding that BMRCL build the station at Bamboo Bazaar as they feared losing their properties if the location was shifted back to Cantonment Railway Station.
As opposition gained ground, the State government asked BMRCL to conduct another survey.
BMRCL cannot afford further delays as it is taking a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to implement the project. In October, the central government had signed a finance contract with EIB to borrow ₹2,300 crore to implement the project. “BMRCL has submitted the required documents, which the agency is examining,” said Mr. Jain.
BMRCL will connect the metro station with Cantonment Railway Station for the benefit of commuters. “We propose an underground travelator between the two station, and will use the best possible technology to integrate the stations.”
‘Survey was an eyewash’
BMRCL’s decision has not gone down well with activists and citizens’ groups who have been fighting for a station at Cantonment Railway Station.
“The survey was an eyewash. It should have consulted with experts before taking the final call,” said urban commute expert Sanjeev V. Dyamannavar, adding that BMRCL preyed on the fears of residents of Benson Town to push ahead with the plan.
In the operational Phase I, the corporation has failed to integrate the metro and railway stations at Yeshwantpur. Many citizens are sceptical of its promise to build an underground travelator at Cantonment.
Member of Parliament P.C. Mohan, who had opposed the move, said he was unaware of the development and would be consulting BMRCL officials next week to discuss the matter.