Hyderabad to have metro rail
Hyderabad will join cities like Kolkata and Delhi to have a metro rail that give will further boost to connectivity in this fast-growing southern Indian hub.
The Hyderabad Metro Rail, to be developed under public-private partnership at a cost of Rs.96.96 billion (approx $2.4 billion), it is one of the largest projects of its kind in the world and India's first two-track elevated transit system.
Authorities expect that the project will be completed in four years. The agreement with the developer will be signed in July and work will begin in August this year.
The metro rail will run on three high traffic-density corridors with a total length of 71.16 km and will have a total of 66 railway stations.
Officials said the trains would have A/C coaches with automatic door-closure and other facilities. The tracks would be erected on pillars raised on the central median of the existing roads. Public would reach the stations through staircases, escalators and lifts.
With three- to five-minute frequency during peak hours, the trains will have an average speed of 80 kmph.
The metro rail system is expected to carry about 1.7 million passengers per day by 2012 and 2.5 million passengers by 2022.
The government has already shortlisted five consortia of national and international companies after evaluating their technical bids for the BOT (build-operate-transfer) project.
The central government agreed to give 30 percent of the funds required for the project as outright grant. The developer will have to bear 60 percent of the cost (Rs.58.19 billion) while the state government will provide the balance 10 percent (Rs.9.69 billion)
The approval for the mega project came close on the heels of the launch of new international airport with world-class facilities at Shamshabad, about 30 km from the city. India's first Greenfield airport in public-private partnership, built at a cost of Rs.25 billion, became operational on March 23.
Another mega project which is expected to change the very face of this 400-year-old city is the 160-km Outer Ring Road (ORR). The eight-lane world-class road being developed at an estimated cost of Rs.30 billion will decongest the city.
The first phase of ORR connecting new growth cluster Gacchibowli to the new airport is expected to be completed by September this year.
Yet another mega project under construction is the P V Narasimha Rao Expressway. The 11.5-km-long elevated expressway, the country's longest flyover, will provide better connectivity to the airport.
The mega infrastructure projects were taken up in view of the fast-paced growth in IT and biotechnology, the increase in area and population of the city, dozens of satellite townships and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) coming up along the ORR.
Last year the government merged surrounding municipalities and villages with the city to make it Greater Hyderabad. This increased the city area from 175 sq km to 725 sq km, making it the second largest city after Delhi.
The Hyderabad metropolitan area has a population of eight million but lacks a good public transport system. The only public transport system involves buses run by state-owned Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) but it is proving inadequate while Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) trains introduced a few years ago are yet to catch up.
The city has more than 2.5 million vehicles. Traffic snarls are a common sight from morning to night.
However, the authorities face an uphill task in land acquisition, demolition of a large number of shops and buildings and shifting of public utilities for the mega project. The government needs to acquire 500 acres of land for building stations and depots and parking areas.