The Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd (HMRL), touted as the largest Metro project in the world to be implemented in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, has put to rest questions about its viability, clocking a daily ridership of two lakh per day, as against estimates of 60,000 passengers a day. The city’s response to the mass transit system has also raised the likelihood of the project breaking even in the next six-seven years.
L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd (L&TMRHL), the concessionaire for Phase I of the project, expects to complete 66 km of the total 72-km elevated network by mid-2019 – there is some uncertainty at present about the leftover stretch, with talk doing the rounds that the Telangana government would like to execute it in place of the concessionaire.
A 16-km stretch between Ameerpet and L B Nagar was operationalised late last month, completing Corridor One that extends from Miyapur to LB Nagar (29 km). In November, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had commissioned a 29-km network across two corridors.
Says NNVS Reddy, MD, HMRL, “with a total operational length of 45 km, the Hyderabad Metro is now the second largest Metro network in India. The mass transit system is helping transform Hyderabad into a people-friendly green city”. Significantly, a passenger satisfaction survey by Keolis of public transport across 13 cities in the country ranked the Hyderabad Metro first with a 98% score.
The 72-km Phase 1 is constituted of three corridors: Red Line from Miyapur to L B Nagar (29 km), Blue Line from Nagole to Raidurg (28 km) and Green Line from JBS to Falaknuma (15 km). Two more stretches are scheduled for completion by mid-2019 – Ameerpet-Hitech City (9.43 km) on the Blue Line and JBS-MGBS (9.66 km) on the Green Line. “From the present 2 lakh passengers a day, we expect ridership to jump to 5 lakh once the remaining two sections are operationalised,” Reddy says.
“A key station on the Red Line (27 stations) would be the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station. It would be among the biggest in Asia, serving as an interchange station between the Red Line and the Green Line. It would also be connected to bus station platforms through two huge skywalks. The station has been specially designed with 58 main pillars and six grids, ” says Reddy.
L&TMRHL has invested about Rs 13,000 crore in the project, with the Centre providing viability gap funding (VGF) of `1,458 crore and the Telangana government investing about `3,000 crore. Since the completion of Phase I would be a year and a half behind the targeted July, 2017, Larsen & Toubro has been given more time by lenders to repay its loan. Citing cost escalation of `3,000 crore owing to delay over right of way issues, the concessionaire is also learnt to be in talks with the state government for adequate compensation.