The 31-km Hyderabad Airport Metro Express project connecting Mindspace Junction/Raidurg to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) Shamshabad, is likely to be totally elevated section, barring 2.5 km of underground section inside the airport. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is scheduled to lay the foundation stone for the ₹6,250-crore project on December 9.
The government has decided to provide funds, since there are no takers from corporates to offer better public-private partnership (PPP) concessions than what was given to L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad (L&TMRH) which built and is operating the first phase of the Hyderabad Metro Rail across three corridors — Red line (Miyapur to L.B. Nagar), Green line (JBS-MGBS) and Blue line (Nagole to Raidurg) — of 69.2km.
The government had earlier announced allotment of about ₹377 crore for the Airport metro, ₹500 crore for Old City metro (MGBS to Falaknuma) and ₹1,500 crore for Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR).
Hyderabad Airport Metro Limited (HAML), the special purpose vehicle formed to helm the project, will be adhering to the detailed project report prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), but costs could be brought down from the estimated ₹300 crore-a-kilometre to about ₹200 crore through ‘leaner’ modular design of stations and other infrastructure, according to official sources.
The alignment along the road media within the city limits and along the Outer Ring Road (ORR) is not likely to be changed much as there is little land acquisition to be done or necessity for any major shift in the utilities pipelines. The elevated section will be as high as the current phase one project since reducing the height of piers or building lines on ground is not considered feasible.
Lease holding of new metro rail coaches and township development through land pooling of 50 to 100 acres to be taken from Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) is one of the ideas under active consideration. GMR Group, which runs the airport, has also already committed to funding ₹500 crore for the project.
Airport Metro will have the first station 1 km away at bio-diversity junction, then at Nanakramguda 2.5 km, Narsingi 3 km, TS Police Academy 5 km, Rajendranagar 3.5 km, Shamshabad 9 km, Airport Cargo station at 3 km and terminal 2.5/3 km away. But, it is also quite possible that the number of stations could be reduced.
The proposed project trains will be running at 100 kmph providing fast commute with likelihood of airport check-in at the starting point after which it is likely to be a 20-minute ride with few halts en route till the airport terminal. Finalisation of the works contract could take months before the project begins, they added.