Metro Rail, A Feather In Hyderabad’s Cap

The project was held up for some time owing to the objections raised by KCR at the time of the agitation for separate statehood about the metro rail corridor passing in front of the state assembly - Sakshi Post

Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

Hyderabad's prestigious Metro Rail project finally getting launched is yet another feather in the city's cap and a development which warms our hearts. It is all the more heartening that Hyderabad's Metro Rail project was inaugurated by PM Modi, because this itself will earn Hyderabad a special place all over the country and put it in another league. The Metro Rail dream was conceived more than a decade ago and took shape over this period surmounting a host of challenges that came its way. It finally managed to get done over 30-km in the initial phase which is commendable. Both the state and L&T deserve to be congratulated.

There have been diverse opinions on the charges put out by the Metro authorities, with comparisons being drawn to a lower rail tariff in Delhi. This may well be true. The truth is that with these charges Hyderabad's Metro Rail is likely to break even, in terms of revenue in about six to seven years. Further, a lot more needs to be done for the city's Metro to be a successful venture. While the city's population has crossed ten million, it is estimated that the metro network can cater to only one and a half million commuters.

The city's metro rail network will have to cover the entire city. Parking facilities at metro stations and connectivity with the existing bus network have to be in place. It is believed that platforms for trains and malls in rail stations are world class in nature, which is praiseworthy. Whose Metro is it, is the big political question.

TPCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy dwelt at length with the help of a power point presentation to drive home the point that it was the Congress which first thought of a metro rail project for the city, as also the outer ring road and the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad, among other important aspects of Hyderabad's development story. He also criticized the TRS government for being responsible for the steep hike in the cost of the project to the tune of 4,000 crores on account of delaying its implementation.

There is some truth in this criticism. The project was held up for some time owing to the objections raised by KCR at the time of the agitation for separate statehood about the metro rail corridor passing in front of the state assembly, martyrs' memorial and the protests of small traders of the Sultan Bazar area. KCR had even suggested that the metro route be changed to so as to go behind the assembly rather than the current route, which he said marred and concealed the assembly building's beauty. However, L&T did not agree to this proposal and made it clear that the project cost would go up sharply.

The lesson to be drawn from this is that all kinds of remarks which politicians make about key projects at one time, later come back to haunt them. KCR dodged the metro rail issue for some time which resulted in the project getting delayed. However, the government did its fair bit to get the initial phase of the project completed, which is why the project got launched.

The Congress party also deserves a word of praise for having proposed the metro project, while the TRS government justifiably takes the credit for taking it forward in spite of a few hiccups, completing the first phase and gearing up for another 430 km of the metro project. Let us hope that the metro project will meet the city's mass transportation needs to a large extent.


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