Wait for MMTS phase-II may get longer

‘Two trains on trial run, but existing rakes are just about enough for phase I services’

Two of the six sections are ready for commissioning and two sets of train rakes of 12 coaches each have arrived from the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai. Yet, no one can guarantee if the Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) Phase-II, providing rail link to suburbs, will function anytime soon.

Although Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav had stated that the trains would be run this April onwards, senior officials of the South Central Railway (SCR) are not so sure. All the works on the sections like doubling of railway lines and electrification has been completed in sections of Telapur-Ramachandrapuram (5.75 km) and Secunderabad-Bolarum-Medchal (28 km).

When Mr. Yadav was the SCR general manager, he had observed that it was quite possible to begin operations in sections where works were completed, by making use of the existing railway rolling stock. However, senior officials, not wishing to be identified, had indicated that it will be a tough task.

While these two trains are currently undergoing trial run, senior officials insist and point out that the existing rakes are just about enough to run phase I services. “We need five more rakes and unless we pay an advance to the ICF, it will not begin to manufacture them,” they affirm.

Funds funda

Therein lies the catch with the SCR claiming to have spent ₹545 crore already, which is way beyond the ₹272 crore it was supposed to invest in the second phase of the project, as the then united Andhra Pradesh had committed itself to pick up two-thirds of the total cost of an estimated ₹817 crore, or about ₹580 crore. Telangana government has released ₹130 crore thus far.

“The Railway Board had instructed us to halt works if the government does not release its share of funds. But, we have been making use of the available funds and despite the slow pace, we have made considerable progress,” they attest.

In fact, SCR got consent for beginning work in defence land of about four kilometres between Moula Ali-Secunderabad (22 km) where doubling-electrification of lines is being taken up only recently after years of trying to convince the local military authority.

Works are currently in progress between Moula Ali-Ghatkesar (12.2 km) where quadrapling of lines with electrification is under way. Doubling and electrification work is on between Moula Ali-Malkajgiri-Sitaphalmandi (10 km) as also between Falaknuma-Umdanagar (13 km).

Five new stations between Moula Ali-Sanatnagar — Ferozeguda, Suchitra Centre, Bhoodevinagar, Neredmet and Moula Ali Housing Board Colony — are coming up and buildings are ready. Another new station will be ‘BHEL Halt’ between Ramachandrapuram-Telapur section, they explain.

Ball in TS’ court

“MMTS Phase-II project is targeted for completion at the earliest. The railway portion of money has already been spent and funds are expected from State government,” said Railways Minister Piyush Goyal during his budget speech. The ball is in Telangana government’s court now.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 2:53:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/wait-for-mmts-phase-ii-may-get-longer/article26163709.ece

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