Wednesday, September 17, 2014

L&T's letter to Govt for Project Takeover

This can’t be a routine letter. The 8-page letter is provided below with each page an image. I managed to get from a friend in the media.
Subject: Hyderabad Metro Rail: Project Takeover Proposal
The letter by L&T Metro’s MD, Mr. Gadgil, to the MD of HMR is dated 10th September 2014. It runs into 8 pages. In the letter, Gadgil cites 7 letters of correspondence between L&T, HMR and Chief Minister of erstwhile AP between 6 February to 15 July 2014. He raises two main issues in the letter. 1. Delay in providing Right of Way (ROW) for faster execution of works as per the Concession Agreement. Providing ROW is the obligation of the Govt of AP/T. 2. He raises the changed circumstances in the status of Hyderabad due to division of AP and its adverse impact on the financial viability of the metro.
In point 16, it is argued that “Prior to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad was the capital city of a state which was well developed, espousing various eminent districts and port towns. However, now it is the capital city of a smaller state with lesser resources than the undivided Andhra Pradesh……Further, there is reduction in the strength of representation of the State in the Parliament. Thus, the position of Hyderabad in drawing investments, both the Central Government and private sector has altered. Consequently, the potential returns from its real estate will get reduced…The change in the status of Hyderabad has resulted in a significant change in the economic and political outlook of Hyderabad, thereby causing material adverse impact on the financial viability of the Project”.
L&T did not think that AP will be divided. In point 22, he mentions that various agitations have been made, without any success, for creation of Telangana. So, we could not anticipate the bifurcation of AP till the AP Reorganisation Bill was introduced.
L&T seems to have hoped that the GHMC will be made a UT. In point 23(iii) he mentions that the creation of Greater Hyderabad in 2007 was viewed “as a precursor to converting the city into a Union Territory, if the state was split”.
In point 24, he states …”it would be most appropriate that the GoT should take over the Project and the underlying contract from the Concessionaire. The GoT should do so by restituting the Concessionaire in a manner whereby the Concessionaire’s property and entitlements are returned to it”.
If the L&T continues with this project it has to explain how it will become financially viable hereafter.

L&T wants the Metro to be taken by the Govt of Telangana

L&T giving up on Hyderabad Metro? It will be sensation. This came too sooner than expected. L&T is known to have written to the Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd (which represents govt of Telangana) that they can't proceed with this project, and asked the govt to take over it. Today's top headline in Andhra Jyothy paper. L&T seems to have repeatedly mentioned about non-provision of Right of Way due to which there is significant cost escalation, and bifurcation of the state. It feels that there is reduced prospects for financial viability of the metro in Hyderabad. It looks like that L&T believed that the state will not be divided, or Hyderabad will be an UT or a joint capital in a proper sense. My comment is quoted in the second picture given below.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Secunderabad Clock Tower getting dwarfed by Metro pillars

The famous Clock Tower in Secunderabad getting dwarfed by the pillars of the metro. It is a heritage structure. You can see the Clock Tower in the distance (Click on the photos for a better view). Tall pillars (more or less equal in height to the Tower) will be constructed close to the Tower which poses threat to the stability of the structure itself. Sultan Bazaar also lies in this corridor. Better to scrap this corridor-2 as the MMTS local train runs from Secunderabad to Falaknuma which can be strengthened easily.

KCR talks tough - Metro must change alignments

We are very glad that the Telangana Chief Minister, Shri KCR, has talked tough to the metro officials that the corridor cannot go overhead in front of the Assembly, and also thru Sultan Bazaar. We demand scrapping of the corridor-2 which goes thru Sultan Bazaar. We have given sufficient reasons to scrap this one. How L&T feels is no indication of the investor confidence in the TRS government which is a false bogey raised by some sections. Show L&T its place if it doesn't follow the govt's directive. (In the photo: Front page news item today in Andhrajyothy: 2 July, 2014).

Saturday, June 14, 2014

KCR for Metro to go Underground at Assembly and Realignment at Sultan Bazaar

K Chandrashekhar Rao for realignment of metro rail
TNN | Jun 14, 2014.
HYDERABAD: Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has all but stopped the Hyderabad Metro Rail project in its tracks. KCR made it clear in the Assembly on Friday that the metro rail would have to go underground near the Assembly and other heritage structures as well as near Sultan Bazaar. "There is no question of allowing the Hyderabad Metro Rail alignment going overhead in front of the Assembly building. It must go underground as in the case of the Bangalore metro project near the Vidhan Soudha," the CM told the House while replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the governor's address to the joint session of Assembly and council.
If the CM has his way, the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited and Larsen & Toubro, the builder and operator of the project, will have to change the alignment, a move that could not only delay the project but also escalate the cost. The heritage buildings and Sultan Bazaar come in the way of corridor 2 of the project than runs from Falaknuma to Jubilee Bus Station. While works on the other corridors are progressing fast, the authorities have not been able to take up construction on corridor 2 owing to protests from the traders of Sultan Bazaar, who would have to give up space in the existing alignment.
Even as the chief minister's stand came as a breather for the traders, KCR was not clear about how his government would make the L&T change the alignment. The concessioner agreement for the project imposes a force majeure clause, according to which the government has to pay monetary compensation to L&T if it seeks any change in the project.
Even as the chief minister's stand came as a breather for the traders, KCR was not clear about how his government would make the L&T change the alignment. The concessioner agreement for the project imposes a force majeure clause, according to which the government has to pay monetary compensation to L&T if it seeks any change in the project.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

AAP demands scrapping of Metro Corridor-2

AAP is the only party in Telangana (or AP) that has taken a clear position on the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR). AAP's Telangana manifesto has promised to scrap the corridor-2 and termed it the least useful corridor. The relevant portion of the manifesto is reproduced below:
AAP considers this as land and real estate project. AAP demands transparency and compliance with the Concession Agreement.
- All important documents of the HMR will be made available in the website of the HMR.
- Full compliance with the RTI Act.
- The land allocations to real estate of the L&T beyond the Concession Agreement will be reviewed and the concerned officers/departments will be held accountable.
- Modifying the Concession Agreement through Government Orders will not be allowed.
Corridor II (JBS to Falaknuma) should be scrapped.This is the least useful corridor and also it will wipe out the heritage area of Sultan Bazaar apart from demolishing thousands of properties.AAP government will scrap this corridor.
The bus transport and MMTS network will be strengthened The MMTS phase II will be completed on a priority basis to strengthen the public transport in the city and improve connectivity to the suburban areas.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Truck falls into metro pit, kills 2 workers

Truck plunges into metro rail pit, kills 2
Times of India, Hyderabad, 18 April 2014
Hyderabad: Two L&T metro rail workers died and a driver suffered injuries on Thursday when a ready-mix truck fell into a trench dug for the construction of a pier (pillar) at Nalgonda X Roads.
    The mishap occurred at 3.20 am when the ready-mix concrete truck (AP 16 TD 4445) coming from Dachepally crashed through the barriers and fell into a pit dug for construction of the metro rail pillar. Four workers were inside the pit and the vehicle directly fell on two of them. Both workers — Mumtaz Ansari, 23, and Babul Yadav, 19, hailing from Jharkhand — died on the spot. Two other workers in the pit escaped unhurt. Just minutes before the incident, six of the 10 workers in the pit had climbed out to get a drink of water. 
    Truck driver Komaraiah from Mahbubnagar, who also suffered injuries, was admitted to the Osmania General Hospital. His condition is said to be out of danger. 
    Though the accident occurred at 3.20 am, it took more than eight hours for the police to pull out the bodies from the spot. Police initially requisitioned five small cranes to pull out the truck from the pit, but could not lift the heavy truck. Finally, a 180-tonne heavy crane was brought to the spot and at 11.45 am, the truck was pulled out from the pit and the bodies recovered.
    Due to the accident, traffic on the busy Chaderghat-Malakpet route moved at a snail’s pace till afternoon.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Half of Iskcon temple to be razed by Hyderabad Metro

After showing sheer arrogance and utter disregard to the historic heritage buildings of Hyderabad city, the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) authorities appear to be adamant on demolishing at least half of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), Secunderabad temple (Near Sangeet theatre) on Corridor-3. HMR proposes to acquire 1,600 square yards of land of the 100-year old temple. HMR now says 900 sq.yrd only will be affected. The temple complex will get totally ruined and lose all the charm of a cultural place with the metro pillars inside its complex and the gigantic corridor viaduct going right over the temple.
Iskcon temple officials and devotees have protested against the arbitrary nature of the HMR and its arrogance. They have proposed an alternative in consultation with railway engineers. They stressed that this alternative “was designed by a panel consisting of top railway (SCR) engineers, headed by the chief engineer himself. There were 10 members in the panel”. In the picture given below, the shaded rectangular area is the temple premises, the red lines are the existing proposal of the HMR and the yellow lines are the proposed alternative by Iskcon as per the advise of the railway engineers. By following the alternative, there will be no difference to the demolition of other buildings and, more importantly, the temple will be saved.

Our View: The present controversy is due to the total lack of transparency and public consultation on the routes of the HMR in the city. Such controversies arose at several places – Sultan Bazaar-Badi Chawdi-Koti, Ameerpet-Yousufguda-Krishnanagar, Regimental Bazaar, Nampally etc. The HMR and GHMC authorities have displayed utter lack of sensitivity and more of arrogance. They appear to be eager to serve the private interests of the L&T than the public cause. Already the Govt of AP has given more lands, worth hundreds of crores, to L&T than what are specified in the Concession Agreement.
The alternative curve proposed by the Iskcon with the advise of the railway engineers should be followed by the HMR. If they claim that the curve is not conducive for the trains to negotiate, we would like to remind them that from Greenlands to JHills Checkpost, there are at least seven L-shared curves. Till now the HMR and L&T have not disclosed to the public about the designs of the metro at these curves. Therefore, the HMR’s claims cannot be trusted.
We extend our support to the Iskcon temple authorities in their fight to save the temple.
The following weblinks (developed by the Iskcon officials) gives the details of the existing and proposed curves:
This is the link wherein they explain what would happen if they dont take ISKCON temple land. This is a completely bogus alternative. Railway engineers had a good laugh. 
Here is what we are proposing:
You would find all information here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

FIR against L&T by the NHAI

 An FIR has been filed against the L&T Metro, which is constructing Hyderabad metro rail (HMR), in Sanathnagar police station (Hyderabad). L&T and HMR have been behaving as law unto themselves. Their highhanded attitude over other departments in the govt has been a talking point for sometime in the official circles. Now the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has filed this FIR. L&T has been recklessly violating the existing rules and practices in road widening and road laying, and taking up the metro works along the highways (Eenadu, 22 Jan, Hyd city edition). He is the link to the news item: 
It is not a small issue that a central govt agency files an FIR against L&T. People who are travelling along the metro construction routes have been experiencing nightmares in traffic jams, spoiled roads, lack of traffic police to guide etc. At most of the spots where the soil test were done, badly laid and rough patches have been left out creating a serious nuisance and a hazard for the vehicles. And, in Hyderabad, nobody questions the metro people. Because it is big project.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Dear all,
I wish all the social activist a very Happy and Successful New Year. Hope our struggles bear fruit in strengthening democracy and accountability in governance. The victory of AAP in Delhi and its forthcoming expansion all over India provide immense hope in this direction. I, on my part at Hyderabad, will continue to expose the Hyderabad's elevated metro rail project. I will be continuously seeking the support of the fellow activists in the city and elsewhere in this purpose.
With best regards,
Dr. C. Ramachandraiah
The two photos below were taken when a group of geography students visited Hyderabad in December 2013 as part of their study tour. They were already aware of our campaign on this project and also this blog. I gave them first a presentation in my Centre, clarified all kinds of doubts, and later took them on a field visit to Sultan Bazaar which is a heritage area. See some posts on this blog to know their fight against the metro project. The students were surprised to see how vibrant the bazaar was and were wondering how can any civilised government demolish such a bazaar.