Bangalore suburban rail: Campaign builds up for Bangalore Central MP, P C Mohan as Railways ministerhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/bengaluru-suburban-rail-campaign-builds-central-mp-p-c-mohan-railways-minister-5746767/

Bangalore suburban rail: Campaign builds up for Bangalore Central MP, P C Mohan as Railways minister

However, when indianexpress.com contacted Bangalore Central MP PC Mohan, he said he was unaware of the campaign.

PC Mohan-Bangalore-Bengaluru-Central-MP-Lok-Sabha-since-2004
BJP MP from Bangalore Central PC Mohan. Photo from Facebook/PCMohanMP

Soon after BJP’s P.C. Mohan won from Bangalore Central parliament constituency, some groups have started campaigning on social media for him to be made the Union Railway minister.

These citizen groups are reaching out and urging others to make their social media campaign #PCMohanForRailwayMinister a success, and it has slowly begun trending on social media.

“Dear @narendramodi, we request you to appoint @PCMohanMP as Railways Minister of India. Given the keen interest @PCMohanMP has shown to improve Railways, he deserves it!…,” Sandeep Anirudhan who is steering the online campaign wrote on Twitter.

Another user wrote on Twitter, “@PCMohanMP Thanks for all your hard work and dedication of your past. We look forward to your leadership in solving the traffic issues of the city and make the sub urban trains a reality ..Best wishes !!”

Transport expert Sanjeev Dyamannavar also followed the bandwagon as he wrote “Every citizens of Bangalore looking for u to take Railway Minister responsibility” on Twitter demanding the same.

Anirudhan told indianexpress.com that P.C. Mohan would make a good union minister for Railways as he is an expert who is well-read about railways and the possibilities of its urban-rural connect. ” Mohan has been constantly pushing for the development of suburban rail projects in Bangalore among other initiatives that could potentially help commute easier from one part of the city to the other. The Bangalore Central MP has also been proactively involved in the construction of the Hoodi railway station which has helped IT employees to commute easily” he says.

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During his earlier tenure, PC Mohan had used his MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) fund to offer more amenities – including foot overbridge, granite benches, ticket counters and such -at the Hoodi railway station. His contribution to the road-widening project at Carmelram railway station’s level crossing in Bangalore was also lauded by many.

However, other vocal citizen groups have earlier sought a response from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for allegedly stalling the proposed suburban rail project in Bangalore. Demanding intervention from the union government and seeking a response from the PMO, an online petition has started making rounds on social media since May 22.

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“#SuburbanRail can quickly take a minimum of 10 lakh rides per day off the roads. Imagine the impact on traffic. It’s the single largest hope to solve our traffic woes. Now the PMO has shockingly decided to go back on its commitment of Suburban Rail on a whim, causing Bangalore citizens &!its children untold damage to its health & basic rights. We have been agitating for this for years, knowing this is our only sustainable, cost-effective and future proof solution to our traffic woes. It needs to be done,” the introduction of the petition titled ‘PMO, shame on punishing Bangalore by derailing critical suburban rail project’ reads. The petition also questions why Bengaluru is being denied suburban trains for more than 33 years when Mumbai and Chennai have had them for nearly 100 years and even Hyderabad got the same implemented 15 years back.

When indianexpress.com contacted PC Mohan, he said he was unaware of the campaign.

Meanwhile, citizen activist Srinivas Alavilli sees the matter through a different lens. “The railway ministry has been overtly centralised over the years and it is an undeniable fact that Karnataka has been ignored over several decades now in terms of developing the rail network,” he says.

“This campaign for making P C Mohan as railway minister stems out from the citizens’ frustration of Bengaluru and Karnataka being denied fair development. We are still where we were during the British era,” he adds.

Mobility expert Ashish Verma believes that developing the suburban rail network is essential to clear transport issues in the city. “Strengthening the suburban railway system in Bangalore is a short-term solution to various problems related to mobility. As we already have the basic infrastructure available to embark on, a clear political will to take this forward is quintessential,” he says.

Bangalore now waits for a new railway minister to see its suburban rail commuting plans through.