From Bangalore Mirror
Disgusted with the difficulty they undergo every day while commuting to work, and also at the slow pace at which work on suburban trains in the city is progressing, residents of Whitefield, mostly techies, resorted to a hunger strike on Sunday.
Gathering under the banner Bengaluru Sub-Urban Train Passengers’ Association at the Whitefield railway station, the protesters demanded comprehensive implementation of a project on suburban trains in Bengaluru. Through the strike, they wanted to draw the attention of the railways and state government to facilitate the introduction of suburban trains as detailed by the Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) report.
“We expect Indian Railways and the government to view this seriously. We have just begun our demonstration through a peaceful hunger strike expecting that the authorities are sensitive and will understand our needs and take necessary action in this matter as per the RITES report. If we don’t see any progress, we will resort to stronger demonstrations and protests in days to come,” protestors told Bangalore Mirror.
It may be recalled that BM was the first to report the impending hunger strike through its article ‘After Hoodi’s success, techies now seek suburban trains’ (January 12, 2016). The protestors said that recent announcements by the railway minister and other officials of implementing suburban trains were a mere eyewash as they had announced only the partial opening of the service instead of the full train service as detailed in the RITES report. They said that unless the complete suburban trains’ service was introduced in the city, it would not improve the city’s traffic conditions. Most of those who protested through the hunger strike were ones who traversed the Bengaluru City-Whitefield route daily.
The protesting techies point out that suburban train service is doing wonders in cities like Mumbai and Chennai, and has been of a great help in de-congesting traffic in Hyderabad too, which has a multi-modular transport service. Despite demand, there is no such system in Bengaluru.
Though there a few trains to Devanahalli, Nelamangala and Ramanagaram, they are not exactly local trains in nature because they are infrequent and run at odd times resulting in them running near empty, the protestors complained.
Hence, just before the railway budget, the city techies decided to take up their protest to a new level. For the last few days, the protestors mobilised support by distributing pamphlets in trains and through social media.