Hyderabad Metro may miss July 2017 deadline

Hyderabad, June 10 (IANS) The Hyderabad Metro rail project may miss its July 2017 date of commissioning due to delay in realignment at three places proposed by the Telangana government.

L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited (LTMRHL) on Wednesday said the final timeline will be fixed after the changes were firmed up.

“The present timeline of July 2017 is without taking into consideration the changes solicited,” LTMRHL chief executive and managing director V.B. Gadgil told reporters.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had last year proposed changes in the alignment at three places to save heritage structures and places of worship.

Officials said that while technical feasibility was done for realignment at the assembly building, the same was yet to be done for realignment at Sultan Bazar and the old city.

Gadgil said the changes involved complicated issues, especially in the old city where the project requires a complete redesigning.

He also not given any intermediate timeframe for commissioning of the first phase.

The eight-km stretch from Nagole to Mettuguda was proposed to be opened on March 21 this year but the same was put off without giving any reasons.

Gadgil, however, said they never announced any intermediate timeframe and had only stated that the stretch will be system ready. He said the second stage of 4.4 km between Miyapur and KPHB was also 70-80 percent ready with trial run of trains.

The LTMRHL is building the about 72-km elevated metro project on three corridors at a cost of Rs.14,132 crore. It is said to be the biggest project in the world in public private partnership.

Officials said about 50 percent of the work has been completed.

On cost escalation, he said it was between Rs.2,500 crore to Rs.2,750 crore due to factors like increase in interest rates and devaluation of rupee.

For the Metro rail system, L&T had achieved financial closure for Rs.12,674 crore (Rs.2,768 crore equity and Rs.9,906 crore debt) while Government of India is to fund Rs.1,458 crore under Viability Gap Funding (VGF).

N.V.S. Reddy, managing director, Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR), a government agency, said Telangana government was spending another Rs.2,000 crore on land acquisition and other works.

He said so far Rs.7,000 crore were spent on the project. This includes Rs.4,500 crore from debt and Rs.2,500 crore from equity. The developer has now met the condition to draw VGF.

Gadgil said talks were on with the central and state governments for additional VGF as the cost escalated due to reasons beyond L&T’s control and the company alone can’t absorb the additional cost.

While admitting that the company initially had concerns about viability of the project due to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Gadgil said with the completion of one year of Telangana government, they were now closer to reality.

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