Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurating a new phase of Kolkata Metro soon.
Few days ago, he inaugurated the extension of Chennai metro phase one built at a cost of nearly ₹4,000 crore.
Earlier, this month Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced thousands of crores of rupees funding to build second phase of Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Nagpur metro rail projects and the first phase for Nasik.
About 702 km of conventional metro is currently operational and another 1,016 km of metro and Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) network is under construction in 27 cities, she announced.
Where does this leave Hyderabad?
Currently, it has the second largest metro line network at 66 km built in one go and a uniquely public, private partnership project where L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad constructed on leased lands of the government at a total cost of more than ₹16,000 crore. It is way behind Delhi Metro running trains over a spread of 347 km and rapidly constructing another 100 km at least.
We will soon fall behind sooner than later, as Lucknow, Indore, Bhopal, Agra, Ahmedabad, Meerut etc., are going ahead with the metro rail projects and there has been no movement towards constructing the next phase of the metro rail even as the twin cities expansion is happening rapidly.
"It has become a prestigious issue with even tier-2 cities in the north and central States going for metro rail projects, apart from the big cities, except in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where there is no step forward as priorities are different," say senior officials, wishing anonymity.
Project plan ready
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has reiterated his government's commitment towards building the 31-km ₹9,000 crore airport metro from Gachibowli before the GHMC elections, yet post results - there has been no word. “The project plan is ready, but the government has to take a decision,” say senior officials.
Interestingly, the Telangana government has neither sought Centre's permission nor financial assistance for the proposed second phase.
“The Centre gave Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to the tune of ₹1,458 crore for first phase, let them complete the entire project as per original alignment first,” said Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy, also Secunderabad MP, when questioned about the funding for phase two.
What he meant was to allow metro to be built in the old city from MGBS to Falaknuma as per the original alignment before seeking any help. Senior officials, however, claim the Centre's funding pattern is quite complicated.
"The 50% equity funding offer does not translate to much in real numbers as it could be about ₹1,750 crore for a total project cost of ₹10,000 crore - route taken by Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru. Second option is to seek 10% funding of total project cost where it comes down to just 7%. But the Centre provides sovereign guarantee in these instances to funds raised through various agencies. Most States have sought Centre's funding except Jaipur, where the Rajasthan government is funding the project entirely on its own after taking permission," they explain.