Saturday, December 31, 2011

Exposing the hollow claims of HMRL

In response to the Press Meet yesterday, the news item published in The Hindu today (30 Dec) quotes the HMR officials denying that flyovers would be built and new properties taken over. They claimed that only junction improvements will be done. We released another statement today nailing their lies, and the MOU clearly talks about "grade separators/flyovers". The statement is given below:

Press Release (30 Dec 2011)
The Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) officials are trying to hoodwink the public by saying that there is no plan to build flyovers but only junction improvements (in a section of the media, 30 December 2011). They will get exposed badly in the coming days.

1.      Item 14 of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by MD of HMR Mr. NVS Reddy with Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH), Government of India clearly uses the terms “grade separators/flyovers” to be built “simultaneously along with the construction of the metro viaduct, by HMRL at their cost” and then mentions the 11 junctions where such “grade separators/flyovers” have to be built. It is true that a grade separator can be an underpass or a flyover. Building underpasses at these busy and crowded junctions means taking up tunneling work which is not going to be an easy task at all. THE ONLY OTHER OPTION IS TO BUILD FLYOVERS.

For the JNTU junction the MOU clearly specifies that the “grade separator to be extended upto Nizampet junction on Pune side and Usha Mullapudi junction towards Hyderabad side”. Are we to believe that the HMRL will do tunneling for an underpass in this stretch? If not, what else can it be other than a flyover? And IT HAS TO BE PARALLEL to the Metro Corridor. It can’t be otherwise. So is the case with other junctions. Whom are the HMRL officials trying to fool?

Is the HMRL planning to do tunneling for underpasses at Maithrivanam (Ameerpet, where metro corridors 1 & 3 intersect above the road), Khairatabad and Mozamjahi Market? If so, why can’t they come out with full facts?
2. Another big lie being told by the HMRL officials is that no properties are going to be acquired for this corridor. 
The Annexure-II of the MOU clearly provides the details of properties to be acquired. Beginning from Miyapur to L.B.Nagar it identifies five stretches and provides the number of properties (302) and their area (51,843.9 sq.mts) on the Right Side, and on the Left Side (375 properties worth 63,136.9 sq.mts). That means a total of 677 properties (worth 114,981 sq.mts of area) have to be demolished along this corridor for road widening so that metro corridors and the flyovers can be built.

3.      Item 19 of the MOU says: “In case, the above mentioned measures in toto are not implemented by HMRL at their own expense, this Agreement/MOU will cease to exist”.

So, what next? Can HMRL escape from the MOU if it has to take up works on this corridor?

It is amazing to see the eagerness of the metro officials to ‘debate’ with public and claims of their transparency. Even under RTI Act, they refused to provide the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of the metro project. What a sham transparency?
It is also amazing to see the HMRL officials claim a monopoly of knowledge on Hyderabad’s traffic and its future. That most of them came from other govt departments, from sanitation to accounts, on deputation with hardly any prior experience on city transportation speaks volumes about their knowledge over the city.

Hyderabad is not Dubai, it is meaningless to compare them. It is a shame to compare it with London. European cities have given highest priority to pedestrians and cyclists. What to talk of Hyderabad on these parameters?
Ever since the metro project came to fore, the BRTS has been practically shelved/killed and not a rupee allocated to the MMTS (local trains) phase-II that should have been completed in 2005 and benefitted millions of people. And they talk about the present and future of traffic in Hyderabad?
We will continue to expose the destructive nature of this project in all its dimensions in the coming days.
1.      Dr. C. Ramachandraiah, Social Scientist, Convenor, Citizens for Better Public Transportation in Hyderabad
2.      Shri B. Ramakrishna Raju, Convenor, National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM), Andhra Pradesh
3.      Mr. O.M. Debara, General Secretary, Forum For a Better Hyderabad (FBH)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 New Flyovers on Metro Corridor 1

Citizens for a Better Public Transport in Hyderabad

(A coalition of civil society organizations and individuals)
Press Release - 29 December 2011

A disaster is waiting to happen on the Metro Corridor-I (Miyapur-L.B Nagar) - Prevent it and Save this city

The conditions stipulated by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH), Government of India, for the Miyapur-LB Nagar route on National Highway-9 (Metro corridor 1) and accepted by the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) as per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between them on 18th October 2011 are going to devastate Hyderabad city. It appears like the HMR authorities have not paid any thought to their implementability and their devastating impact on the city at all.

The metro itself is an elevated corridor for 29 km with 27 stations at 50-70 feet above the road on this corridor. It’s like a flyover from one end to the other end of the city. And then imagine building 11 new flyovers simultaneously along the same road in parallel direction of the metro. And two rail under bridges (RuBs) at Malakpet. At least 25-30 feet gap has to be left between the flyovers and the metro corridor. Is this possible on Hyderabad roads? Imagine the untold hardships that the citizens will be subjected to.
The new flyovers to be built are at –
1.      JNTU junction (Kukatpally) which should be extended upto Nizampet cross road on one side and Usha Mullapudi junction on the other.
2.      Godrej Y-junction (Kukatpallly)
3.      S.R. Nagar
4.      Maithrivanam (Ameerpet)
5.      Khairatabad junction
6.      Mozamjahi Market
7.      Moosarambagh junction
8.      Gaddiannaram junction
9.      Dilsukhnagar junction
10.  Chaitanyapuri junction
11.  Kothapet junction
Can anyone think of constructing flyovers and metro corridors at Maithrivanam (Ameerpet, where metro corridors 1 & 3 have to intersect above the road), Khairatabad and Mozamjahi Market? The M.J.Market is a historic heritage monument. Can it withstand such constructions in close vicinity?

Further, as per the MOU, 677 properties (worth 114,981 sq.mts of area) have to be demolished along this corridor for road widening so that metro corridors and the flyovers can be built.

Completion of a flyover in the busy streets takes 2-3 years even with precast building methods. If the metro corridor 1 of 29 km with 27 stations has to be taken up along with these new 11 flyovers, can they be completed in 4 years?

What do they want to do this city? Is the city meant only for cars, construction companies and contractors? The HMR and L&T seem to be playing hide & seek with the public regarding the true face of the metro in this corridor.

We demand that the L&T should make public the designs of the stations, including the metro intersection points, and the new flyovers. Even today the public are kept in dark about these hard realities. What else can you call this if not a scandal? Will the political parties take note of this?
Unless these issues are resolved, the metro works should be stopped immediately until these issues are resolved.  

1.      Dr. C. Ramachandraiah, Social Scientist, Convenor, Citizens for Better Public Transportation in Hyderabad
2.      Shri B. Ramakrishna Raju, Convenor, National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM), Andhra Pradesh
3.      Mr. O.M. Debara, General Secretary, Forum For a Better Hyderabad (FBH)

Chikkadapally traders protest

THE HINDU, HYDERABAD, December 29, 2011
Chikkadpally traders down shutters in protest

The busy commercial hub of Chikkadpally wore a deserted look on Wednesday as the traders downed their shutters supporting the one-day ‘dharna' and ‘vanta vaarpu' programme organised by the BJP and Chikkadpally Federation of Commerce (CFC) at Chikkadpally. The traders were demanding better compensation package for the loss of their land in the Metro Rail project.

While government maintains that there are only about 100 shops that would be affected by the Metro Rail II phase project at Chikkadpally, the BJP National secretary K. Laxman says that about 387 shops would be affected during the construction. “Though the Metro Rail will reduce the traffic congestion and provide efficient public transport system, the traders should not be victimised in the process,” he said.

Outlining their demands, CFC president C. Nand Kumar said that the compensation for the land should be given at prevailing market rates. Their demands also include providing compensation to all the affected traders without discrimination, and providing alternate accommodation to the traders and tenants who are set to lose more than 80 per cent of their property because of the project.

“The proposed compensation of Rs. 45,000 per sq yard is far below the actual market prices,” Mr. Kumar said. “Besides, the officials claim that about 70 establishments are located on government lands and are offering a very low compensation package to them,” he said adding that these shops have been functioning for more than seven decades and have proper registration papers.

“How can the officials claim these properties as government land while they were collecting taxes all the while?” Mr. Kumar questioned.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Traffic signals don't function, who cares?

Is the AP state govt serious about improving traffic flow in Hyderabad? If you think 'yes', (by looking at the hurriedness for the metro rail, then you are mistaken. Traffic police and GHMC asked for Rs. 25 cr to improve the signalling system. GHMC also asked for diverting the lakhs of rupees collected every month by traffic police as fines from vehicle users. It now goes to the state govt. The state govt allocates only Rs. 10 cr that too from GHMC funds. The latter backs off. Hell with the traffic, who cares? We only love the metro! - CR
GHMC backs off traffic management project
S Bachan Jeet Singh, Express News Service,  20 Dec 2011
HYDERABAD: The proposed Hyderabad Traffic Integrated Management System (HTRIMS) to improve traffic signaling system effectively in Greater Hyderabad limits has hit a roadblock as the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has decided to back off from the project. A few days ago, GHMC Commissioner M T Krishna Babu had written a letter to Sam Bob, Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD), informing that the corporation was in no position to bear the burden of this project.

The MAUD had sanctioned Rs 10 crore from the GHMC funds to install and maintain effective traffic signaling system to the Police Commissioner, Hyderabad under the 100-day action plan. But the funds never materialised.

The GHMC, in association with the Hyderabad Traffic Police, had proposed the advanced traffic signaling system called HTRIMS. The project comprises design, site preparation, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and maintenance and operation of traffic signals in GHMC and it was envisaged for a period of five years from the date of commissioning of HTRIMS project with a tentative cost of Rs 25 crore. There are about 220 traffic signals functioning in the city for smooth flow of traffic.
The GHMC wanted the state government to either divert the funds that are collected by way of challans by the Traffic Police to the HTRIMS project or said the project may be funded directly by the government.

The state government launched a 100-day action plan this year with the main aim of improving civic amenities in the GHMC by improving sanitation, roads, water supply, power and traffic. In response to this, Additional Commissioner, Traffic made a proposal to the government and requested sanction `25 crore to carry out various measures intended to improve traffic flow in the city.
The government after studying the matter accorded sanction to release an amount of `10 crore from the GHMC funds to install and maintain effective traffic signaling system and other measures aimed at improving traffic flow in the city. But the funds haven’t been released till date prompting the GHMC to back out of the project altogether.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chennai Metro's threat to Airport

Chennai Metro will derail Airport safety: DGCA
Mamta Todi Khaitan, Express News Service, 16 Dec 2011
NEW DELHI: A safety assessment carried out at the Chennai Airport to explore the viability of the upcoming Metro Rail link has identified several risks. Not only did the assessment, as per Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) norms, identify substantial risks to aircraft operations but also cites grave security concerns. The assessment, done on various parameters set by DGCA, concluded that there is over 95% risk in allowing the Metro Rail link construction in its current format.

“The DGCA report highlighted how the Metro Rail will bring an impacting change of airport and aircraft operations, how new disaster management rules will have to be laid down, new procedures for missed approaches will have to be figured out,” a DGCA official said. The report also concluded that the electromagnetic effect from the moving train, performance loss of an aircraft, sabotage probabilities and other such critical risks will become paramount.

On a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the most substantial risk, DGCA rated ‘7’ to all of these parameters, highlighting the grave danger for giving approval to the Metro project in its current format. “While Metro Rail...offered to cover the surface of the moving train with concrete, they have not specified how strong it will be. A superficial cover will serve no purpose. If the concrete box fails to take the load of the landing aircraft, it will bring in contact 25,000 volts of the Metro line with the aircraft resulting in disaster,” the official said.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mayhem at Mehdipatnam

Dear all, 
Though this is not directly related to the metro rail project, I am posting this to highlight the sheer callousness of the authorities in Hyderabad towards public transportation, pedestrians and buses at one of the busiest junctions in Hyderabad - Mehdipatnam. More vehicles & people travel on the road but no infra for them whereas hundreds of crores spent on the monster flyover to the airport for a few people. This flyover represents the present development model - favour the contractors and the rich with total connivance of the official-political class.
A photo and news item appeared in Times of India today (12 Dec). The link is:
The news item says: ‎"The area, which acts as a changeover point for passengers to reach different parts of the city, has no foot-over-bridge, no pavements for pedestrians and practically no traffic regulation." 

On the metro front, after Ameerpet, the affected people in Krishnanagar sent away the L&T workers from the soil-testing works in their area. They were forced to pack up their equipment and leave. Great news.

best regards,


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Traders prevent L&T staff on Metro works

Great news. That is an indication for future. "Until their interests are taken into consideration, they will disrupt any work related to the metro project" is the warning of the traders. If govt thinks they can bulldoze thousands of shops, people won't take it lying down. L&T, better watch out and get out of this project.
Traders disrupt metro rail work at Ameerpet
Times of India, Hyderabad, Dec 3, 2011.
HYDERABAD: Officials of L&T who started the initial inspection work at Greenlands, Ameerpet on Friday for the Hyderabad metro project, were forced to leave the site within a few minutes by protesting local traders. The officials who had started surveying the area at around 11:30 am were soon confronted with the members of the trader community of Ameerpet who questioned their presence since they had obtained a stay order from court. 

"The stay order issued by the high court does not permit any project-related work to start here. This is nothing but contempt of court," said A N Shankar, president, Anti-Metro Rail Project Ameerpet JAC. 
The protestors did not allow the officials to carry out any inspection and forced them to leave the site. They said no work can be taken up until the matter is settled in court. The surveyors soon left the site. Traders had moved the court against the metro corridor passing through Ameerpet demanding to know why its original plan through Punjagutta was changed.

B Gopal, a protesting trader of the area, who is also losing a significant portion of his property to the project said, "The proposed road widening in this area has no uniform pattern on either side of the road. The project officials and the government should hold transparent discussions with us and only after that they should go ahead with the project. How can they ignore us when we have been an integral part of this area and our life revolves around it?" Another protesting trader C H Naveen threatened that until their interests are taken into consideration, they will disrupt any work related to the metro project.