CM urges Railways to stick to deadline

HYDERABAD, NOV. 1. The South Central Railway has committed itself to completing the Rs. 70-crore first phase of the multi-modal suburban commuter transport system in one year.

The Chief Minister, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, who signalled formal commencement of the work on the project at the `Necklace Road station' here on Thursday, exerted gentle pressure on the Union Minister of State for Railways, Mr. O. Rajagopal, to ensure that the deadline was adhered to.

Mr. Chandrababu Naidu offered full cooperation to the Railways and requested Mr. Rajagopal, who presided, to get the project included in the Railway budget and release funds. The Railways should formulate an action plan with clear milestones. For his part, he would personally monitor progress of implementation.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh (GOAP) earmarked Rs. 39 crores in the budget toward its share, of which Rs. 19 crores was sanctioned. Mr. Naidu handed Mr. Rajagopal a cheque for Rs. 7.5 crores as first instalment. The Government would sanction an additional Rs. 25 crores for approach roads and other infrastructure.

The Chief Minister traced the rapid growth of the twin cities into an emerging centre of knowledge, technology and health and an international tourist destination. ``Chennai and Mumbai are bounded by the sea and have limited space to grow. Hyderabad can grow on all sides.'' But the City badly needed an affordable mass transport system that helped check pollution by ever-growing vehicles (``Every year, one lakh new vehicles are added'').

He said it was planned to build a long flyover from Khairatabad to Kukatpally, which the multi-modal transport system could also utilise.

The Union Minister hailed the project as an example of close cooperation between the Indian Railways and the GOAP. It was cleared by the Cabinet on August 13 and the Railways would take it on an out of turn basis. In view of funds constraints and growing demands, the Railways had been seeking the help and involvement of States to take up railway projects in their area. AP responded promptly.

Mr. Rajagopal said the Railways-GOAP joint venture was unique as it involved both the Railways and road transport services to complement each other. He commended adoption of this system to other cities in the State.

The Union Minister of State for Urban Development, Mr. B. Dattatreya, called for new rail link between Nampally and Kacheguda railway stations and another between Malakpet and Vanasthalipuram. Railways share of city public transport was a mere one per cent. He regretted that the Railways was not cooperating with the State Government in road widening between Mettuguda and Tarnaka.

The Minister for Roads and Buildings, Mr. K. Vijayarama Rao, said both partners of the cost-effective joint venture should strive to complete it in one year.

Mr. N. Krithivasan, General Manager, South Central Railway, provided salient features of the project, which would be completed in one year. It envisaged introduction of low- pollution, low noise MEMU commuter trains and setting up of 10 additional railway stations. The first phase would cover Secunderabad-Falaknuma and Secunderabad-Hyderabad-Lingampally touching Hitec City.

The Chief Minister also launched work on the Necklace road (formerly Hussainsagar Junction) this evening.

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