For all clamour about the Railways delaying phase two works of the Multi Modal Transit Service (MMTS), it is the State government which is to take the blame for non-improvement of phase one services.
For some strange reason, it has been sitting on a proposal to pay Rs. 22 crore to the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, for procuring the pending six rakes or trains.
A government boasting of one lakh crore rupees budget has been unable to find such an ‘insignificant' sum for nearly a year now.
The amount has been growing from Rs. 14.64 crore to Rs. 18 crore and now to the present figure in the last three years, thanks to the dilly-dallying.
After lying with the Finance Department for quite some time, the ball was lobbed into the GHMC court asking it to take a loan and transfer the money to ICF to enable it to begin manufacture of coaches within a stipulated time.
Civic body helpless
However, the financially beleaguered Municipal Corporation has thrown up its hands and expressed its inability to do so, lobbing the ball back to the government. Unless the money is paid, ICF will not even prepare a schedule for making the coaches as it is already fully occupied with preparing coaches for the Kolkata metro expansion, admit senior railway officials.
Despite all the obvious hiccups of lack of proper frequency and connectivity, ridership to phase one operations has been rising by the day with 1.3 lakh people using the 104 services on the Secunderabad-Hyderabad-Lingampalli (28 km) and Secunderabad-Falaknuma (15 km) routes.
More coaches will help increase the number of trains and thereby services.
Some truncated trains with six coaches could be augmented with the originally planned nine coaches, say officials.
If a decision is not taken soon, roads will be choked with more preferring private vehicles or buses while MMTS hapless riders will have to continue to travel on packed coaches and longer commuting hours.
Keywords: Public transport