Tirupathi, located on the foot hills of Eastern Ghats, is in Andhra Pradesh State. It is the most popular pilgrimage centre in South India. About 20 million devotees visit Tirupathi in a year ie; about 37,500 pilgrims per day, out of which about 15,000 ie; about 30% are from Bengaluru side. The number of pilgrims was about 23 lakh during May 2015. But how well-connected is Tirupathi from Bengaluru? Is there a provision for improvisation?
Existing connectivity :
a) By road:
The distance between Bengaluru and Tirupathi is 250 km by road. The existing connectivity is mainly by road. The journey by bus/ four wheelers takes about 5 hours 30 minutes. Heavy road traffic exists between Bengaluru and Chittoor, as both Chennai traffic as well as Tirupathi traffic move along this common portion of Old Madras Road (National Highway No 4).
Around 43 Karnataka Road Transport Corporation( KSRTC) buses operate from Bengaluru to Tirupathi. In addition to this, buses from places to the west and south of Bengaluru also move along the Old Madras Road. In addition, many tourist buses ferry passengers to Tirupathi. S R S Travel buses operate 15 buses per day from Bengaluru to Tirupathi. Most of the people having four wheelers use this road to Tirupathi and towards Chennai. Many tourists use taxis to Tirupathi and back from Bengaluru.
b) By railway:
Existing train connectivity is not convenient. It is a circuitous route. The number of passenger trains between Mysore-Bengaloru-Tirupathi is 28 per day i.e. 14 trains from Yeshwanthpur and 14 from Bangalore City Station.
The route is as follows:
|Katpadi-Pakala via Chittoor||46 km|
The Inter-City weekly train service introduced from January 25th 2011 takes 6 hours 10 minutes from Bengaluru to Tirupathi.
c) Air connectivity
There is a direct flight from Bengaluru to Tirupathi. But the problem is the long distance of the Kempe Gowda International Airport from the City. The journey time to the Airport is one and a half to two hours each way.
Suggested direct railway link
The study is to examine whether it is possible to propose a direct railway link from Bangarpet to Chittoor to reduce the heavy road traffic between Bengaluru to Chittoor. The route suggested is to avoid the round about railway route from Bangarpet to Pakala via Jolarpet and Katpadi. This route is only about 215 km as against the present distance of 286 km.
The proposed route is as follows:
The distance reduced is about 71 km. A new line 120 km long is to be formed for direct link from Bangarpet to Pakala. The journey time will be about 4 hours 20 minutes as against 6 hours 10 minutes. It is possible to reduce the journey time by one hour 50 minutes or about 2 hours which attract pilgrims to use the railway mode instead of the tedious and risky road journey. Fast and convenient trains with short frequency may have to be organised. It is possible to attract 50% of the road users who travel by road at present.
Merits of this proposal
- Safer and comfortable journey for tourists.
- Relief from traffic congestion on Old Madras Road which will help commuters of Bengaluru.
- Reduction in consumption of petrol and diesel.
- Reduction in vehicular pollution.
- Savings in tour expenses.
- Provides better connectivity between other urban areas on the west of Bengaluru, and
- Possibility of development of urban areas between Bengaluru and Tirupathi.
The suggestions are based on cadastral maps showing the existing physical features, and railway map. The alignment proposed may be suitably modified according to standards and techniques.
Feasibility report may be prepared by the Railway engineers. The project may be implemented as a railway project or on BOOT basis, if permissible, according to policies of the Railways.