Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Money only for Metro Rail, Not MMTS

The AP budget provides Rs. 500 crore for the ongoing metro rail for the financial year 2013-14. There has never been any shortage of allocations in the budget for this mega project. But the long neglected and awaited phase II of the MMTS (multi-modal transit system) gets nothing. It was reported in one newspaper that an amount of Rs. 17.5 cr was allocated for MMTS while one paper reported that there was no mention of this at all. Non-allocation of money for MMTS once again indicates that public transport and mobility of people in Hyderabad has never been a priority for the state government. In the last several years some paltry amounts have been allocated in the budgets but there is no evidence of spending that money.

(Photo: From a newspaper, no date available)

It may be recalled that MMTS trains are operated by the Indian Railways on the existing railway tracks. The phase I was completed in August 2003 with an investment of about Rs. 200 crore on a length of 40 km carrying about 1.5 lakh passengers everyday. These trains now connect Falaknuma-Kachiguda-Secunderabad-Begumpet-Lingampally and also Nampally-Lingampally. This is one of the cheapest modes of transportation and has become very popular with the commuters. It is a joint venture between Indian Railways and AP state govt with a share of 2/3rds by the latter.

The phase II of this project covering 70 km with a cost of about Rs.600 crore should have been completed by 2005. It would have connected Shamshabad, Gatkesar and Medchal on the outskirts with the city core. Ever since the metro rail project came to the centre stage in 2005 successive state govts have not shown any interest in allocating money to this project. 

Hyderabad city requires all modes of the transport to be improved and integrated over a period of time. But now, for the sake of the metro project, all the alternative/existing modes of transport are either neglected or downgraded. That is the tragedy of the present times. That shows the real nature of the metro rail project.