KCR gets into damage control mode, meets L & T officials

September 17, 2014 11:30 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 08:05 pm IST - HYDERABAD:

In an obvious trouble shooting, the top management of Hyderabad Metro Rail project and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao huddled into a meeting on Wednesday following reports that the company threatened to back out of the metro rail project here on the ground that it was not financially viable any more.

After the meeting, the CMO and project authorities issued separate releases expressing commitment to the ongoing works and condemning newspaper reports as an attempt to damage the interests of Telangana.

The release of the CMO said Mr. Rao reviewed the progress of the project and decided to send Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma and Advisor to government Papa Rao to New Delhi to negotiate second phase works. They will also seek the advice of metro rail expert E. Sridharan.

The chief executive officer of L & T Metro Rail Hyderabad V.B. Gadgil said in his statement that the company would complete the project "expeditiously" as per schedule. The progress so far was the fastest in any metro project in the country despite various challenges met during its execution.

Mr. Gadgil also met the media to complain that a section of press distorted correspondence between the concessionaire and the government which threatened to damage the prestigious project. He also released the letter written by L & T group chairman A.M. Naik to then Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy in February which was reproduced by the press on Wednesday and said it was carried in a selective manner, missing the context.

The company will continue the project as it was "viable as of now" but the viability had to be checked continuously. It did not get any official communication from the government to change the alignment as reported in the press. However, the company stopped works at Sultan Bazar and Assembly where the government was said to have expressed its reservations in view of the location of heritage structures.

Mr. Gadgil admitted there were right of way issues in the project but they could be resolved or alternatives looked at.

He said the letter was part of a huge correspondence with the government to resolve issues and challenges in execution of the project. The termination of the project due to cost escalation and other factors which were highlighted by the newspapers was only a "gesture" and not final.

The letter sought to relieve L & T from the project as “unusual” conditions and adverse economic conditions contributed to unforeseen cost escalation which made the project incapable of performance.

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