Telangana CM ‘unhappy’ with L&T’s political comments on free bus service

Updated - May 16, 2024 01:35 pm IST

Published - May 16, 2024 01:01 am IST - Hyderabad

Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy

Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Unhappy over the ‘political statements’ of an L&T official on the free bus scheme, Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy sent a strong message to the L&T, the operators of the Hyderabad Metro Rail, that they can choose to exit if they wish to, and the government can take care of the Metro Rail operations.

Mr. Reddy was reacting to reports that L&T was contemplating exiting the Metro Rail operations due to women opting to travel in RTC buses instead of the Metro Rail after the State Government introduced the free bus ride scheme for women. L&T operates the Hyderabad Metro Rail, which it built in a public-private partnership mode.

Mr. Reddy said he was not concerned with the business of the L&T and how they operate and if they prefer to opt out, the Government will look for another player who would be interested in operating it. There is nothing much to worry about it was his argument as the Government works for the people and not for the corporates.

The Chief Minister was not so pleased with the L&T claims and comments on the Mahalakshmi bus service scheme introduced as a poll promise by the Congress party before the Telangana Assembly elections. Sources said the Chief Minister was unhappy that the scheme was criticised by the L&T and he saw it as an interference by a business group into State policies.

The ‘controversy’ over the L&T opting out of Metro Rail operations gained traction when R. Shankar Raman, Chief Financial Officer told a business channel that the patronage of Metro Rail was affected by the Mahalakshmi scheme with women preferring RTC buses ignoring the Metro Rail. He, however, has not directly indicated that they would prefer to sell stake because of the free bus rider scheme. He said some disinvestment may happen in the Metro Rail as a part of the group’s business initiatives.

But what angered the Chief Minister, according to sources, is the political comments on the free bus scheme and its sustainability linking it with Metro Rail operations. The exact comments of Mr. Shankar Raman were not related to moving out of Metro Rail operations but mixing the company’s disinvestment with the popular scheme of the Government has sent a wrong signal to the Government.

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