It is pending with the Ministry of Railways for the last six years despite ‘positive signs'
Dark clouds continue to hover around the fate of phase two of Multi-Modal Transit Services (MMTS) pending with the Ministry of Railways for the last six years. Despite “positive signs” emanating from different quarters, the mood is more sombre in the upper echelons of the railways.
The issue of forming a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is being brought into the picture once again. It was broached with the government after the visit of Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi to the city last month. Interestingly, the government has already cleared the second phase with its commitment to pick up the two-third cost of the project in 2005!
And, the Railway Board as well as the Ministry has been non-committal on the SPV till now even after there has been a renewed interest in the project in the last couple of years.
Project cost too has escalated from Rs.325 crore to Rs.641 crore or more.
“What the project needs is immediate grounding of works such as starting a new line to Umdanagar near Shamshabad , doubling and electrification of rail line from Falaknuma to Umdanagar; Doubling and electrification of Sanatnagar to Moula Ali line. Bringing SPV back into the picture would only delay matters,” insist senior officials.
Their take is that the railways or the South Central Railway (SCR) should or could continue the current method of operations more so because taking up the MMTS second phase suits its own interest besides taking care of suburban transport.
“There is a general reluctance on the part of Railways to get into the “loss making” suburban transport services taking into consideration the Mumbai and Kolkata experiences Yet, here the much needed rail infrastructure cost for the future passenger and freight traffic needs is being taken care of to a significant extent by the government due to the MMTS,” point out senior officials.
For instance, the Sanatnagar-Moula Ali doubling and electrification under stage one of second phase can help decongest the Secunderabad station, plus taking up doubling or quadrupling along with electrification of the railway lines touching Medchal, Ghatkesar, Manoharabad, Bhongir sections at a later stage would be a great help once new freight or passenger terminals are demarcated.
“Our government and MPs should lobby with the Centre for MMTS phase two at least this year because not a penny was allotted despite being mentioned in the Railway Budget last year,” said Vijay K, MMTS Travellers' Group.