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No support from Centre for expansion of Metro Rail: KTR

Hyderabad: The State Municipal Administration nad Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao on Saturday alleged that the Centre was giving priority and big budget for small towns but denying the funds for the expansion of Metro Rail in Hyderabad.

The issue of expansion of Metro Rail came up during the Question Hour in the Assembly on Saturday by the BRS member A Gandhi. The Minister said that the government was expanding Metro which covers Airport Express Metro from Raidurg Metro station to Shamshabad Airport (31 km) and BHEL to Lakidikapul (26 km), and bridging a small gap of 5 km between Nagole and LB Nagar.

He said that the Airport Express Metro with a Cost of Rs 6,250 Crore has been sanctioned as a fully owned State Government project. It would be completed in three years. The BHEL-Lakdikapul corridor proposal with Rs 8,455 crore was sent to the Union Government for sanctioning it as a Joint Venture project of Centre and State and this would take four years after it is sanctioned by the Centre.

The Minister said that Hyderabad was the fastest growing city in India and it has become an economic engine. Instead of giving support, the Centre is not coming forward to support the Metro Rail.

“The Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri did not give an appointment to me. The secretary was sent with DPR and sought support for the 31 km line from BHEL to Lakdikapul but there was nothing in the budget,” said Rao.

The Minister further said that the Centre was providing support to other metros like Bengaluru Metro taken up with Rs 59,000 crore and the Centre’s share was 20 per cent (Rs 11,866 crore) and a sovereign Guarantee of Rs 29,644 crore. Similarly, for the Chennai Metro taken up with Rs 83,993 crore, the Centre gave equity of Rs 16,799 crore and sovereign guarantee of Rs 41,996 crore.

Rao said that in Uttar Pradesh they have given approval for six towns like Lucknow, Agra, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Varanasi and Allahabad and also in Gandhinagar in Gujarat with the same sovereign guarantee. “These are smaller towns than Hyderabad. If they support the Centre they will give assistance. But when we ask, they send questions about viability or passengers.

We will leave it to the conscience of the Prime Minister,” said Rao. He said that the passengers in the city have been demanding more coaches.

On the allegations of CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka that an advertisement monopoly was given to the Metro, the Minister said that this agreement was made by the Congress government. He said the government will not allow the company to increase prices indiscriminately.

Replying to another question, he said that the government would first take up road widening in the Old City route and added that they were committed to take Metro there.