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Metro rail faces more showdowns

Metro rail faces more showdowns
Highlights

The year 2014 witnessed a love-hate relationship between the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) authorities and Telangana government on one hand and the HMR and activists on the other. When the new State government took over, one of the defining decisions of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was to alter the plan of Metro Rail near heritage sites

The year 2014 witnessed a love-hate relationship between the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) authorities and Telangana government on one hand and the HMR and activists on the other. When the new State government took over, one of the defining decisions of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was to alter the plan of Metro Rail near heritage sites like the Legislative Assembly, Moazzam Jahi Market and in the vicinity of Sultan Bazaar. In a knee-jerk reaction, activists hailed the decision and lauded Rao’s attempt to safeguard the city’s heritage landscape, which is an issue they have been vociferously campaigning for.

However, there has not been much to rejoice for the activists who are now fuming at the progress of the Metro Rail projects. While Corridor 1(Miyapur-LB Nagar) and Corridor 3 (Shiplaramam-Nagole) have fewer issues, the bone of contention has now shifted to Corridor 2 (Jubilee Bus Station -Falaknuma). The works which had been in limbo for over two years, picked up pace this year with properties being acquired for the project from Jubilee Bus Station to Narayanaguda. But further construction has been mired in uncertainty, due to lack of clarity.

“The construction of Corridor 2 is completely unplanned. Environment assessment has not been taken up and there is no clarity on how the project will progress. A meeting was proposed earlier this month between heritage activists, HMR authorities and the local MLAs. However, no one from the government came forward. We are now completely clueless on the plan,” claims P Anuradha Reddy, the city-based convenor of INTACH.

According to her, “The line from Chaderghat to Puranapul is a landmark heritage site. We are not sure how the HMR will take up construction there. We want the Metro Rail to wind up construction at Kacheguda itself and not stretch to Badi Chowdi, which is business hub. The whole plan needs to be relooked upon.”

Social scientist C Ramachandraiah feels that the entire corridor should be scrapped as it does not cater to a large number of people. Instead, he suggested that the existing MMTS service from Secunderabad to Falaknuma should be strengthened. With further construction on corridor 2 expected to gather steam early 2015, both the HMR and the government will have to brace up for a showdown with the activists. The corridor is proposed to be operational by 2017.

By:P Krishnamurthy

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