Shabbir Ali questions BRS Govt's sincerity on Metro Rail connectivity in Old City
He accused the government of intending to credit the non-existent project to its ally MIM in order to mislead the people during the next elections
HYDERABAD: Congress senior leader and TPCC Political Affairs Committee (PAC) Convener Mohammed Ali Shabbir has questioned the sincerity of the BRS government in its commitment to provide Metro Rail connectivity to the Old City of Hyderabad.
While speaking to the media on Monday, Shabbir Ali said that the government's announcement of issuing land acquisition notices in a month to 1,000 properties in the Old City was a tactic to delay the project until the announcement of Assembly elections. He accused the government of intending to credit the non-existent project to its ally MIM in order to mislead the people during the next elections.
Shabbir Ali highlighted the fact that the State Government had allocated Rs. 500 crore in the annual budgets twice for the Metro Rail connectivity in the Old City. He said that no agreement had been signed between the government and the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL).
He further questioned how the HMRL could begin construction without a Detailed Project Report and proper financial disclosure. The estimated cost of the project was over Rs. 2,000 crore, but the HMRL had been misleading the public by suggesting that it could be completed within the allocated Rs. 500 crore.
Additionally, he said that the Finance Department had not released the allocated funds to the HMRL. Despite this, the BRS Government forced the HMRL to issue a statement regarding the commencement of the project, he alleged.
He highlighted that the previous Congress Government had initially approved a 72-km phase-1 metro project, which included a corridor connecting MGBS-Imlibun to Falaknuma, a 5.5 km stretch on the green line. However, the BRS government halted the Old City corridor while completing the rest of the 67 km and commencing operations, he added.
Shabbir Ali questioned why the BRS government waited until the election period to issue notices for land acquisition if it genuinely intended to bring Metro Rail connectivity to the Old City. He also said that the State Government had not taken any action in the past nine years to resolve the various issues that had been cited as reasons for the delay, such as property acquisition and demands for a change in route alignment.
He said that the State Government should have extended the project beyond Falaknuma. He argued that a 5.5 km stretch from Imliban to Falaknuma would not be economically viable, and another corridor should be simultaneously developed, connecting Falaknuma with the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad.
Shabbir Ali accused the current claims regarding the Metro Rail project in the Old City as mere deception and a political scheme orchestrated by the MIM and BRS parties with the upcoming elections in mind. He said that the 67-km stretch of the Metro Rail project was successfully implemented because it had received approvals and funding from both the State and Central Governments. He said, that the present proposal lacked any funding or involvement from the Central Government or other financial agencies.
Shabbir Ali expressed concerns that contractors might find it unfeasible to undertake a project that lacks guarantees of timely funding.
Expressing doubts about the progress of the Metro Rail project in the Old City, Shabbir Ali raised concerns that the BRS government might create legal complications to halt the project. He regarded the recent announcement as an election gimmick aimed at benefiting the MIM, which has faced significant criticism from the public for the lack of development in the Old City of Hyderabad.