L&T confident of overcoming the delay if it gets depot lands soon

The much awaited metro rail project is behind schedule by five months due to land acquisition delay but the concessionaire, Larsen & Toubro is confident of overcoming it provided decisive steps are taken to handover the depot lands soon.

“The next four to six weeks are critical. If we are given possession of these depots, we are well on course. We are planning to run the first train by mid-2014. We have not reached a stage where we need to be worried,” affirms Vivek B. Gadgil, Chief Executive and Managing Director, L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad.

Depots are proposed at Nagole (100 acres), Miyapur (104 acres) and Falaknuma (17 acres). While a considerable part of Nagole site was handed over and civil works are underway, technical glitches are to be sorted out for Falaknuma while the Miyapur site is mired in litigation.

“I am not saying everything is hunky-dory. We have to be practical. It's a first public, private partnership project (PPP) of this size. We expected hurdles and land acquisition is slower than what it should have been but we are not seeing a red light as yet, its still in the amber-yellow zone,” he avers.

Building metro in an urban environment of a 400-year-old city with undulating terrain is fraught with technical and other challenges and there were no illusions it was a simple task.

“We have to look at horizontal and vertical alignment as unlike a road we cannot turn wherever we want to,” he explains. Ways are being devised “to cause as much less disturbance to the public and minimise demolitions”.

Vendors identified

Lot of background has been done with “engineering planning, design and conceptual work across the three corridors,” he affirms. Vendors of global repute for rail systems, rolling stock, signalling, automation, fare collection and so on have been identified.

“We have scoured the world to get the best of systems and tenders finalisation worth Rs.7, 000 crore is at an advanced stage,” he says.

Alignments across Line One (L1) – Miyapur to L.B. Nagar and Line Three (L3) – Nagole to Shilparamam have been approved while alignment change for Line Two – Jubilee Bus Station to Falaknuma depended on the Government.

“We have finalised the alignment as per the route fixed when the contract was signed as we have not been told about any change,” attests Mr. Gadgil.

Agitations did affect the work as the Government departments were shut but the L&T office was working “without disruption even for a single day,” he asserts.

“No political party has approached us,” he maintains, rubbishing reports of sub-contracts awarded to a political party to buy peace.

“We expect the Government to take a quick decision on Telangana. But, Hyderabad is an important city with quality infrastructure when compared to other metros and people are not going to go anywhere. It needs a metro. Everyone wants this project to come up,” he adds.