By R. Chandra Prakash, Mysore Grahakara Parishat
City Railway Station was built nearly a century ago when Mysore was way different from what it is today. City’s demography and geographical boundaries were limited and the concept of distances was restricted. The number of trains too was highly limited so also passengers. The concept of Central Business District (CBD) then was limited to Makkaji Chowk. Since mobility was either by walk or by Tongas, roads were not congested.
However, today the Railways run an average of 30 pairs of trains per day and on an average, 60,000 passengers converge daily at the railway station and a majority of them use the traditional ‘front’ entrance (Jagjivan Ram Circle side). Reason being the availability of transport and parking facility on this side. This is also the reason for heavy traffic on Irwin Road and surrounding areas like Jhansirani Lakshmi Bai Road, Sayyaji Rao Road, Sheshadri Iyer Road and Dhanvanthri Road.
With the completion of track doubling and electrification, more trains will operate between Bengaluru and Mysuru for the simple reason that rail transport is comfortable, safer and cheaper. The consequences of these developments on traffic conditions in the CBD will be diabolic. There is neither a sign of our planners taking note of this fundamental change that will happen soon nor there are any steps in the pipeline to tackle this. If this is left like this, CBD is going to be in bigger mess than it is today.
However, if railways adopt a pro-active attitude and join hands with city authorities there can be substantial relief in the traffic problem. An attempt is being made here to show how railways can substantially reduce traffic congestion by adopting some modifications in its services:
Railway Station related
- Railways should make use of both the sides of the station – Jagjivan Ram Circle side and CFTRI side – so that passenger traffic is distributed.
- All incoming trains should disembark passengers only on CFTRI side – platform 6 or 5. And all outgoing trains should start only from old face of the station – platform 1 or 2. This will reduce the passenger load by 50 percent.
- Parking facilities should be substantially increased on the CFTRI side.
- Place should also be made available for city buses to pick up passengers from CFTRI side.
- The vast vacant space on Railway Sports Ground needs to be made use of. There seems to be no tangible sports activities taking place here except the ritualistic Annual Railway Sports.
- City buses can take the road by the side of Vani Vilas Water works to pass through railway under-bridge for onward journey towards eastern side, thereby reducing the load on Irwin Road and Jhansirani Lakshmi Bai Road.
- As the city is densely populated in areas like V.V. Puram, Yadavagiri, Gokulam, Brindavan, Jayalakshmipuram, this arrangement provides good connectivity to places like Manasagangothri, Kuvempunagar, without clogging the JLB Road. This will also mean substantial reduction of traffic on the eastern side of the railway station.
Railway Service operation related
- Railways should consider brief stop at Naganahalli station so that passengers heading towards Ring Road can disembark there. Bus services should be made available at Naganahalli station.
- Railways should also consider extending services till Railway workshop. This would facilitate passengers to disembark at Chamarajpet station and at Railway Workshop station to reach their destinations in southern parts of the city.
- Trains coming from Hassan Arasikere side should stop at Metagalli where a new terminal is being planned. This will help passengers heading towards western part of the city to disembark.
- Railways should introduce local trains between Naganahalli, City Station, Chamarajapuram, Ashokapuram, and Kadakola. Similarly locals can run between KRS, Belagola Metagalli, and City Station.
It is high time that the local administration, people’s representatives starting from Corporators, MLAs, MLCs, MPs and the leaders in the ‘outer circle of power ring’ take this cause and save the city from getting totally chaotic. One has to remember the idiom “A stitch in time saves nine”.