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Metro pride disappears in dusty roads outside

BMRCL was asked to maintain pothole-riddled roads and pavements outside Metro stations, but the agency questions viability of the ABIDe's recommendation when it is already 'overbudened' with works

As a proud Bangalorean steps out of the Metro station after enjoying a smooth ride on the world-class mass transit system, his sense of pride disappears in the cloud of dust kicked up by vehicles lumbering down the pothole-riddled roads around Metro zone.

A motorcyclist navigates through a pothole-riddled road under a Metro Flyover near CMH Road yesterday


The Namma Metro, which completed its first month of operation yesterday, had agreed to maintain 500 metres of pavements and roads near Metro stations at a meeting with Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development Task Force (ABIDe), an empowered advisory panel of the government on urban infrastructure, before the launch of mass transit system last month.

But it has apparently failed to keep its promise, much to the dismay and inconvenience of commuters who swear by Metro services.

As per the initial agreement, both Bangalore Metro and BBMP were to take up maintenance of roads and pavements on the metro stretch. But ABIDe recommended that BMRCL should maintain that the roads and footpath coming under the 'Metro Zone', instead of involving BBMP.
 
At present, the Metro has a daily ridership of average 22,000 and in the past one month, its revenue earning has already crossed the Rs 2 crore mark.

But a walk around the stations would be enough to break that 'Metro mirage' and show the commuters the hopelessly sorry picture of transportation dusty desert-like streets and broken pavements in the city.

Even city politicians and bureaucrats, who had promised that roads and pavements between MG Road and Byappanahalli will be fully renovated, seem to have forgotten their promise.

Stark contrast
"After experiencing Metro's world-class services, the moment you step out of the Metro stations a stark contrast greets you.

The roads and pavements around the Metro station should be made more pedestrian friendly and BMRCL should take up that responsibility at the earliest," said R K Mishra, a member of ABIDe.

"If they want the Metro to remain the darling mode of communication of Bangaloreans, they need to provide better infrastructure around the stations," Mishra added.

Sweta Raman, a city professional who takes the Metro to and from work, said that MG Road Metro station is right in the heart of the city and it is from here that many board the train.

"There is no pavement at all near the station and walking on the busy road could be very risky as lumbering vehicles can mow you down any moment," she added.

Besides pedestrians, the sorry state of roads is giving a harrowing time to motorists too. "We were expecting that at least S V Road will be re-laid and made pothole free once the Metro services being.

But it seems neither the Metro nor  BBMP is interested in fixing these roads," S Danapal, a motorist who commutes between K R Puram and Ulsoor.

The Other Side
Though the responsibility of maintaining the roads and pavement was given to the BMRCL, it seems reluctant to shoulder it.

"We are responsible for running the Metro properly. Besides ensuring smooth functioning of the mass transit system, we are also carrying out works on different stretches of the Metro.
 
How amidst all this, the Metro is expected to maintain pavements and roads in the vicinity of its station," said a senior BMRCL official.

B L Y Chavan, BMRCL spokesperson said, "Yes, we have agreed to take care of 500 metres of roads and pavements in the Metro zone." But he refused to comment on what was really being done to maintain them.

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